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eBay is continuing on its path to harness computer vision techniques to boost its business, as it announced a new feature that will let you search for items using images of similar products on eBay.

The ecommerce giant has been doubling down on its AI investments in recent times — it recently hired Jan Pedersen from Twitter to spearhead its broader AI efforts. And last year it rolled out a new computer vision search tool to help shoppers find items using photos either from their camera roll or other websites. Its latest feature adopts a similar reverse image search ethos, except now the eBay mobile app will let you drag-and-drop photos of goods that you like from eBay into the search bar to find others just like that.

So up until now eBay has been setting out to leverage computer vision to make the real-world environment, and third-party websites, “shoppable.” Now, it’s looking to make eBay itself easier to shop within.

The initial search itself does, of course, have to begin with a good old-fashioned keyword, such as “crossbody bag.” But now you will be able to refine the search using an image of an item that you particular liked.

Above: Drag-and-drop: Computer vision

It’s an incremental advance on what eBay is already doing in the computer vision realm, but it’s further evidence of the increasing role that computer vision is playing across industries. Visual search has infiltrated many search-based platforms, including social networks and stock photography websites.

eBay’s new visual shopping feature will begin rolling out to eBay’s Android and iOS app from August in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Australia.

“As we improve the experience, we are heavily focused on continuing to enhance its quality and integrate more into eBay’s shopping experience,” eBay said in a blog post. “We’ll continue to evolve it and add more ways to search with images soon.”


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