Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Microsoft launches visual search option

Microsoft has announced a new feature for the recently launched Bing search engine. As reported by the BBC website, the new feature is designed to set their search experience apart from Google and will allow users to browse results using pictures instead of text.

The visual search option will initially concentrate on the four main areas where Bing has been providing specialised search options to date - namely travel, health, leisure and shopping. At the recent launch, Microsoft claimed Visual Search allowed users to conduct some searches faster than the "traditional image search" offered by rival Google and other search engines.

Microsoft say the new feature is "like searching through a large online catalogue". When a searcher enters their search term, a link at the top of the first page of results allows users to "visualise" what Bing has found.By clicking on the link displays a gallery of related images which the searcher can then scroll through and select to enter the relevant web content.

At the moment only a small number of search results will return a visual display and the feature is currently only available on the US version of Bing, but these categories and coverage are likely to be expanded as the tool moves out of beta.

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