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Searching for Data in Images

I tried out Bing’s new visual search after seeing a few people note it on Twitter. I was a little excited to try it, thinking that it might help me to find images for the editorials easier.

It didn’t, and I was disappointed. I thought that this short review in PC Week summed it up. It just doesn’t work well, and the best quote:

Yet after every search trial I always come back to Google, because it works.

I tried typing something in, but that brought me back to the regular search. I clicked “TV Shows”, looking for images from Leverage, but I couldn’t make out detail in the images. Too many to look through, and too slow. I found myself looking up at the search box for the words as I moused over

I’ve given Yahoo and Live chances, and each time they just don’t do a better job. So why should I switch? I haven’t used Bing a lot, but unless it improves on Google significantly, why should I switch?

What I want

I’d use a visual search if it made things easier. What I’d like in visual search is a combination of meta data and breadcrumbs to narrow things down. If I search for “flower”, then give me some options on the side like Amazon does. Let me pick from

  • Media (books, movies, pictures)
  • Red, pink, white, red, or even “more red” or “less red” (or other colors)
  • natural, in stores
  • people

Then let me click those to narrow down the images I want. I can scan images quickly if I’m trying to narrow things down or find some type of image.

If someone could make search for better, I’d try it, but so far Google does the job.

(cross posted to my dkranch blog)

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by Jack Corbett on 22 September 2009

While I wouldn't necessarily say BING is better than Google, it is just as good.  The Search History sidebar is a nice touch.

I did look at the visual search and I wasn't impressed either.  I just think it is way too slow.  The nice thing about Google is that it is fast and doesn't have a lot on the page to slow down the rendering.

Posted by Steve Jones on 22 September 2009

If BING isn't better, is it worth switching? I think not. I like google, and I give a lot of business to Microsoft. Don't mind balancing things out. If there were another engine that worked as well, I'd be tempted to try it, just to balance things out.

Posted by David.Poole on 23 September 2009

I know it isn't search related but have you tried the CoolIris plug-in for FireFox?

You can view your google images search in a browser tab that behaves like an Apple iTouch.

Posted by Steve Jones on 23 September 2009

I haven't tried that. I'm wary of adding stuff to my browsers. I have enough issues at times and they run slow.

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