A New Age of Web-Based Search Engines

While keyword-matched searches are only as good as the searcher’s ability to describe an item. Visual search engines identify items in imagines by looking for color, shape, proportions, text to identify brand and product names. Some visual search engines allow text input and give a visual display of the search results. Visual search engines search for web pages, as well as, media content like videos, images, and podcasts. Some offer that ability to search for similar sites. There are a variety of ways these engines display results. They can be arranged in stacks (viewing one web page at a time), along a Google timeline, simple text, showing a photo tag cloud, or even a 3D cube made of visual previews of media content. Every search engine is different, some use Yahoo or Google to do the search while others like Slyce (for shopping) work with partners and build their own database. Some only show web pages and some only show media content.

A new app, Slyce, launched in 2013, featuring a “Snap find Shop” capability. Referred to as “The Shazam for shopping,” snap a picture whether it’s a QR code, barcode, advertisement, or a 3D image. It takes 1 one to five seconds for codes or ad image results to show up, while 3D images take five to fifteen seconds. From the man that founded Futurelink (the original cloud computing company in the 90’s) and Trace (autonomous cameras that follow and stream live action), Cameron Chell, developed visual search technology that can identify products based on a picture and allow the user to purchase the item on their smartphone.