free html hit counter Unveils a Visual Search Engine - John Battelle's Search Blog Unveils a Visual Search Engine

By - November 08, 2006

Picture 4-9The search company Riya today launches its visual search engine, based on appearance in addition to text. The Like engine is particularly apt at finding consumer products that provide, as ZDNet describes, “visual similarity shopping.” Riya found product hunting was a more popular application of their technology among users than facial recognition search, which they tested on MySpace.

TechCrunch, which illustrates the ease of finding a similar watch to Ms. Paris Hilton simply by searching with a cropped image of her watch, hails as the ‘first real visual search engine.’ It’s a direction that can only grow– according to Riya, current keyword-based image search accounts for only 8% of queries. Though a number of big players have expressed research interest in visual search, the going has been hard, and is in many ways ‘the first’ to pull together an engine ready for prime time.

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2 thoughts on “ Unveils a Visual Search Engine

  1. PixLover says:

    Riya has some competition on this one – London based Pixsta launched recently – a huge online shoe store browsable by image similarity. Comparing the two,’s site is more polished and great fun, however the Pixsta site about Shoes only is very fast, simple and reminds me of the early days of text search.
    For a PURE shopping experience “You know what it looks like but you cannot describe it in words” is much more intitive. It will be interesting to watch which one consumers go for.

  2. I was a bit disappointed to click on a celebrity and find myself being directed to middle-market watches… which surely was not what the said celebrity was wearing.

    I think would be far more interesting, if it were possible to find a likeness of a celebrity’s face rather than her possessions. The links could lead to plastic surgeons who specialise in creating that likeness. Pour quoi pas? After all, that is a shopping application too, and a fast growing segment of the market.