500px has created a new way to discover photos, based not on textual descriptions but on swatches and colors. The company today launched Splash, a search engine that lets you simply select a color or design to begin filtering photos that match your mood. This is the first product to come out of 500px’s Innovation Group.

Traditional search engines dictate that you describe the image you’re looking for. But there are times when it can be hard to do that, so 500px wants you to be able to query based on color. With Splash, you simply select a brush size and color before applying it to a canvas. In real time, 500px’s algorithm will scan through the more than 80 million photos uploaded to the site and find ones that meet your criteria.

And you’re not restricted to just one color. Instead, Splash lets you combine multiple colors so you can get the right photo for your purposes. You can even have a completely darkened canvas, and the search engine will display pertinent photos — landscapes, people, animals, travel, or cities. Add a hint of a second color, and the choices will change. How much of any color is sprayed on the canvas dictates which photos are displayed.

If you find a photo that you like, you can click on it to purchase it right from the 500px marketplace. The concept is that if you are looking for images to hang in your living room, for example, you can select a color and see what best matches. This also helps photographers, as it improves discoverability of their images without forcing them to account for every tag and description.

“This is a way of searching images that has never been done before,” explained 500px head of product Kelly Thompson. “Splash will make it much easier for creatives to find the exact image they are looking for on the 500px Marketplace.”


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member