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Visual Search Technologies in E-commerce: How Do They Change the Online Purchasing Experience?

Visual search technologies help users find the required information on the internet through the input of images as search queries.

Visual Search Technologies in Ecommerce: How Do They Change the Online Purchasing Experience?

Today, these technologies become more and more widely used in the e-commerce area. In this article, we will determine the nature of visual search technologies in more detail and consider several examples of their use by online merchants.

The Past and the Present of Visual Search Technologies

Since the appearance of the World Wide Web, people have been interested in finding not only textual information but also visual information, like images or videos, on the internet. Users typed tags, keywords, and even short explanatory texts to describe the visual data they wanted to find. Still, such search method could not always provide accurate results.

With the advent of the content-based image retrieval functionality applied to large image databases, the visual data finding process changed significantly. Due to this technology, search engines became able to analyze the content of an image itself, not only tags or keywords associated with that image as it was before.

In other words, from that time, images were classified by colors, sizes, shapes, and other types of information that could be derived by a search engine from a particular image.

In 2010, Google made a new breakthrough in the visual recognition field by releasing Google Goggles, a visual search application that was initially designed for Android smartphones.

The application could identify visual data, such as product images, product labels, barcodes (QR codes), and the like, to provide additional info about them as well as to search for related images on the internet. Users need to only take a photo of a particular object and scan the snap with the Google Googles app.