TC50: Microsoft's next attack on Google: Bing gets visual search

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Microsoft continues its attempt to unseat Google as the king of search. Today, someone from the team behind its Bing search engine took the stage at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco to announce the latest feature: Visual search.

The most obvious way to use visual search is when you’re shopping for products. So if you want to buy a new handbag, you could look at images of thousands of handbags in Bing, scroll through them quickly, and narrow down your search based on brand, price, and other attributes. Unusually for Microsoft, the user experience is actually quite impressive, with the image results and the transition between search pages providing some nice eye-candy. It’s certainly a much flashier experience than Google Image Search. Bing Visual Search is supposed to be live any second now, so you can see it for yourself.

One way that Bing seems to fall short of shopping-focused visual search companies such as Like.com is the ability to select an item and find other products that have a similar appearance. Microsoft says it may add this feature at some point.

Bing isn’t just limited to shopping — Microsoft also showed off the ability to look through images of movies and politicians. Shopping, however, is an obvious way to make money.

If you’re interested in visual search, you may want to consider attending the DEMO conference next week, where we’ll be exploring some new technologies from Numenta and Google in the visual and audio areas.

Click here for more startup news coming out of the TechCrunch50 conference today.


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