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What is visual search?

What is Visual Search and Why it is Important?

In the realm of searching, text-based queries have long been the norm, yet they might not always be the most convenient. Imagine if you could search for products or services not by typing keywords, but simply by using images. This innovative concept is known as Visual Search.

While perhaps less discussed, it’s a potent search model employed by major platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, Amazon, and Google. Leveraging artificial intelligence techniques, visual search streamlines the process and often yields more accurate results than text-based queries.

Why is Visual Search Important?

Visual Search represents a paradigm shift. Instead of inputting keywords, users search with commercial photography. The technology behind it leverages artificial intelligence to analyze and interpret images, making the process more intuitive and user-friendly. This approach is part of a broader “sensory search” concept, which includes text, voice, and image-based queries.

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Types of Visual Search

Visual search refers to the use of images or visuals as input to search for information, products, or services. There are several types of visual search methods:

1. Reverse Image Search:

This involves uploading an image to a search engine or platform to find similar images, products, or information. It’s particularly useful for identifying objects, artworks, or products.

2. Product Search:

With this type of visual search, users can take a photo of an item they see in real life and search for similar products online. It’s commonly used for fashion items, home decor, and accessories.

3. Barcode/QR Code Scanning:

Users can scan barcodes or QR codes using their smartphone’s camera to obtain information about products, compare prices, and access reviews.

4. Visual Commerce Search:

This involves using images from social media platforms or websites to search for and purchase products directly. Users can click on items within images to get more details and make purchases.

5. Visual Recognition Search:

This type of search utilizes AI and machine learning to recognize objects within an image and provide relevant information. It’s used in various fields, including identifying plants, animals, landmarks, and artworks.

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Visual Search Examples

Several platforms have embraced visual search:

1. Pinterest

Introduced in 2017, Pinterest facilitates over 600 million visual searches every month. Impressively, it can recognize an astonishing 2.5 billion items. Studies indicate that around 90% of users’ purchasing decisions are influenced by this technology.

2. Google Lens

Launched in 2017, Google Lens reigns as one of the most popular visual search platforms globally. It boasts advanced search engine capabilities, elevating the visual search experience.

Advantages of Visual Search for Companies

Visual search holds immense potential for businesses:

  • Building Emotional Connections: Visual discovery fosters stronger emotional connections with new customers. Consumers engage more deeply when they can visually connect with products.
  • Encouraging Repeat Purchases: Visual search can drive existing customers to make more purchases, extending beyond the initial products or services they sought.
  • Boosting Revenue: As consumers find it easier to identify products using visual search, companies can expect increased revenues. Forbes predicts that the visual search market will surpass $25 billion.

Incorporating visual search technology can transform a company’s interactions with customers, enhancing engagement, and contributing to revenue growth.

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