Tip o’ the Week 397 – Bing visual image search


Loyal Microsoft fanbois and grrlz will doubtless use Bing as their default search engine, and many “ordinary” computer users will also stick with whatever their browser or phone apps default to. Even after years of trying, though, Bing is still very much a runner-up in the league of most-used search engines, even if arguably it’s as good or even better than the alternative. Recent stats suggest that in the US, 1/3 of all searches are handled by Bing, so it’s at least in a credible 2nd place rather than a distant irrelevance, as some detractors may say.

clip_image002Even the most persistent marketers have largely given up trying to make the verb “to Bing” catch on, and El Reg reports that Google is trying to encourage “search with Google” in a style guide for developers: 'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google.

Aside from the beautiful daily home-screen images, there are some neat and sometimes hidden tricks in using Bing.com to search for stuff online.

A little while back, the Bing team launched Visual Search – when you do a search and look at results in Images, click on a result to preview it, and you’ll see a small magnifying glass with a dotted line box around it, in the top left.

clip_image004Clicking on that icon will let you move and resize a box around some element of the image you’re interested in, and below, you’ll see a list of related images to the one you just selected.

clip_image006

Handy for finding out about a specific item in a picture, or a person in a photo, for example.
(Yes, it is, in fact, Kevin Turvey)

This kind of searching is a variant on another approach, where you can either point Bing at an clip_image008existing online image, or upload one that you have on your computer, and it will find similar images to that. The Visual Search UI makes it a little easier if you just want to find out about a part of the image.

Watch out for some upcoming additions to Visual Search – like the ability to recognise faces in search results, for example. Read more about that and other Bing improvements to come, here.

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