Google’s “search by image” feature just got a little bit smarter. The search engine can now better detect image subjects and give you lots of new related content.
Search by image allows you to upload a photo to Google and use it as a “search term,” as opposed to regular keywords. In the past, Google has been able to detect what is in many photos, but only on a very base level. For instance, if you uploaded a picture of a flower, it would return search results for flowers. But now Google is integrating its Knowledge Graph into “search by image.” Now when you upload that same image, Google will see not just a flower, but a Birds of Paradise flower, and will give you information about its origins.
Google introduced the knowledge graph in May. It allows Google’s search algorithm to detect context in search terms, as opposed to just face value definitions. Google gives the example of the Taj Mahal. When you’re searching for the Taj Mahal, you may mean the building, the musician, or the casino. The Knowledge Graph can detect which one you’re referencing and provide you search results based on the other two categories if it guesses wrong.
This is a big step for image recognition in search. One of the most frustrating aspects of life in this Internet-ruled world is the inability to get an answer. Much of that frustration stems from having the wrong keywords, not being able to describe well enough what you’re looking for. The “search by image” option takes care of that.
Along with the integration of the Knowledge Graph, Google also says it has improved its ability to guess the subject matter of an image. It also says it will provide more than just websites that include the same image; it will return news stories and other non-photo content related to the image in the search results.
Birds of Paradise image via Shutterstock