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Bing one-ups Google, lets you image search within images

Did you spot the perfect outfit in a web search? Bing may be able to find it for you.


Google may still be the dominant search engine, but the competition just added a pretty amazing feature: Microsoft's Bing will now let you search for images within images -- and even buy items you find there.  

Say you're watching an episode of your favorite TV show, and you see a supercute outfit or a rather handsome watch or maybe a piece of furniture you fancy.

Search Bing for a screenshot, tap the magnifying glass button at the upper left-hand corner, isolate the item you're interested in, and there's a decent chance Bing will be able to find it thanks to its machine learning technology. (You can read more about the tech here.)

I spent a few minutes testing the new Visual Search feature today, and the results aren't always as specific as you might like: While Bing had no trouble picking a specific Pebble smartwatch out of a lineup of men's wristwear or finding a specific baby outfit, it gave me a whole bunch of boring black automobiles when I was searching for a specific truck. You may also find that Tracer, the star of Blizzard's popular Overwatch game, will return a wide variety of images of "anthropomorphic anime cyborgs."


Bing Visual Search can identify bowls you might like to buy, based on a picture of a nice kitchen where such a bowl lives.


It also couldn't find one of Jennifer Aniston's sweaters, which is an in-joke for people who've been following this whole idea of "buying things you see on a screen." And this is probably a good time to mention Pinterest introduced a feature like this a couple years ago

Still, it's a pretty cool feature for Bing, and the nice thing about machine learning algorithms is they typically get better with use. I'm definitely going to play around with it more, even if I'm not ready to abandon Google. 

via OnMicrosoft