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Bing Visual Search Lets You Find Information on Any Item in an Image

Bing Visual Search Lets You Find Information on Any Item in an ImageIf you’ve ever looked at a picture online and wanted to know more about one particular item in the image, Bing Visual Search will make your day. This new capability makes it possible to search within an image you see online, so you can find out more about, well, practically anything you see in it. Check out how it works and why we need this in our lives.

How to Use Bing Visual Search

Let’s say you’re looking at a picture of a home remodel and you see a lighting fixture you really like. With Bing Visual Search, you can click on the magnifying glass in the top left of the picture, and then use this tool to draw a visual search box around the object you want to learn more about.

Once you choose the object, you’ll get search results that show you additional pictures of it, as well as websites for additional info, including where to purchase. In addition, you’ll see similar products that you might be interested in. It’s helpful not only when you are cooking up new ideas, but also when you’re ready to purchase, since the information you need is easily found. Just keep in mind that the better the image quality, the better your search results will be. Additionally, Bing Visual Search works best when objects aren’t too close together in the picture. Of course, this will likely change as the feature improves over time, but for now, it doesn’t always work on crowded images.

Why This Update Matters

It’s about time we got a tool like Bing Visual Search. After all, it’s not always easy to use text to describe the products you’re looking for online. Sometimes you just need to see pictures. In fact, 74 percent of consumers have said text-based searches don’t always help them find what they need. Add to that the fact that about 75 percent of consumers who are online typically search for images before making any purchases, and you’ll see that a new visual search option was much needed.

It’s pretty easy to consider why Bing Visual Search would be helpful as a consumer, but what about from a marketing perspective? As you might guess, anyone selling products that show up in images online can benefit from shoppers’ ability to pinpoint those sought-after items and find out where to buy them. So, this tool could make online marketing and sales a little easier for anyone with product images online.

But Bing Visual Search might affect us in another way—by driving Bing’s competitors to keep up with their own visual search updates. And so far, they have been. For example, Pinterest has its Lens app, which lets you point your smartphone at nearly any object in the real world and see a page of ideas for similar items on your phone, even if they’re not on Pinterest. Instagram has taken steps to make images shoppable, making it easy for users to click on pictures to find out more about products and even buy them. And Google Image Search now has a Similar Items tool that offers more information about items you see in lifestyle images online.

Clearly, Bing Visual Search is a good move for both consumers and marketers. To check it out yourself, you can perform an image search on or on the Bing app for mobile devices. And if you’re curious about the technology behind Bing’s new feature, head over to the search engine’s blog to see how visual search works.

Photo Credit: Kieran Harrod Flickr via Compfight cc