Microsoft is rolling out a new “visual search” feature for Bingwhich allows users to click a picture on their smartphone and search for an item in the picture online. From the basic, it’s clear that the Redmond giant is now building up to rival Google’s Lens feature which performs precise and quick object detections through artificial intelligence.
Available for both iOS and Android devices, the feature can be accessed through the Bing app and Microsoft Edge web browsers on both platforms. ‘Visual search’ can also be accessed through Microsoft Launcher which only runs on Android devices. The feature allows you to search for dog breeds, popular landmarks, monuments or even clothing and if possible will also lead you to a store where you can purchase them.
All a user has to do is snap a picture using an app from the smartphone or upload an already clicked picture from the camera roll. Bing will then recognize the object in the picture and provide you with further information and detailed links relevant to the subject. Microsoft says that it’ll constantly add more capabilities to Visual Search while the current update lets you shop for furnishings and fashion right from your photo, giving you information about the brand and the nearest store to purchase it from.
The feature employs Microsoft’s computer vision algorithm trained with datasets that host large amounts of data and labelled images in addition to images around the web. Visual Search thus allows users to gather knowledge about surrounding objects without having to pick and choose a handful of keywords to fit into a search box.
Complimenting their latest product, Bing Images Product Lead, Vince Leung said “Sometimes, it is almost impossible to describe what you want to search for using words. While there have been strides for many years to get to this point,” noted Leung, with the advent of cloud computing we are able to accelerate our ability to make sense out of pixels”.