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Microsoft Introduces Visual Search for Bing

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments
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It’s been a big week for Microsoft. The company today launched the Zune HD, and on Monday afternoon, it rolled out something called visual search for search engine, Bing.

Announced at TechCrunch50 by senior vice president Yusuf Mehdi, Bing Visual Search returns results as an image gallery as opposed to just a list of links.  Say you want to search for cell phones. You'll be shown a bunch of images which can then be filtered by specs, color etc. Hovering the mouse over an image will automatically enter the name of the device into the search bar, making it extra easy to refine your search.  A search for NFL players will return the obvious images of players, which you can then reorganize by salary, position, or team. Choosing to do so will make the images shift around and reposition themselves on the page, right in front of you.

“The whole concept is that the world of search will change," Mehdi said, according to TechCrunch. "There will be a more graphic way people will search, and it will pivot how people search," he added.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks to this seemingly awesome tool. At the moment, there are only 49 galleries, although this number is expected to grow at a rapid rate. Not really a huge deal, but worth mentioning. The second drawback is a little more of a nuisance: while Bing's visual search feature works with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome, it does require you to download Silverlight, and that's something a lot of people will be reluctant to do.

Check out the full list of galleries below and don't forget to let us know what you think!

If you live in the U.S. you can try Bing Visual Search by clicking here.

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Sports

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    nirvanabah , September 15, 2009 4:53 PM
    How long til we can search for pr0n stars by boob size?
  • 10 Hide
    p05esto , September 15, 2009 7:07 PM
    Silverlight is used on a lot of sites and applications, far more than you think. There are also a LOT of advantages over Flash. The integration with .NET and the possibilities that provide are eye-opening. Flash is becoming old, legacy weighed down tech....Adobe doesn't even have Flash for 64 bit browsers yet, it's that poorly written. And 64 bit browsers have been out for a few years now. Think about that one.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    nirvanabah , September 15, 2009 4:53 PM
    How long til we can search for pr0n stars by boob size?
  • Display all 23 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , September 15, 2009 5:19 PM
    nirvanabahHow long til we can search for pr0n stars by boob size?


    That's probably what it is intended from the beginning.
  • 4 Hide
    ssalim , September 15, 2009 5:20 PM
    I have to install silverlight? darn.
  • 0 Hide
    Rancifer7 , September 15, 2009 5:25 PM
    Ahh the possibilities! With porn of course.
  • 3 Hide
    phizik , September 15, 2009 5:35 PM
    I have to admit this looks really cool...it works here (outside the US)
  • 2 Hide
    deathblooms2k1 , September 15, 2009 5:39 PM
    I just used it for looking at dog breeds, and it worked pretty well. I narrowed down the criteria that I wanted, picked a picture of a dog I thought looked nice then got wiki pages/ breeder, rescue organizations. I don't think this will change the face of search engines but I definitely see it as being a very useful tool, such as shopping for a car or maybe even looking for Houses. In this specific instance with searching for dogs I discovered a breed that might be more suitable for me, and I probably never would of considered it otherwise.
  • 0 Hide
    doomtomb , September 15, 2009 5:56 PM
    Oh... it requires installing Silverlight. No thanks.
  • 5 Hide
    FlayerSlayer , September 15, 2009 6:19 PM
    Funny how Microsoft wants the world to use Silverlight instead of flash, but only MS sites USE Silverlight. Everyone else uses Flash. So do we install and use Silverlight to visit MS, or do we stop trying to visit MS?

    I seem to recall IBM tried this. They made OS/2 only compatible with IBM printers, hoping to sell more printers. Instead, people just avoided OS/2.
  • 0 Hide
    Edex , September 15, 2009 6:42 PM
    Doesn't work for me either (Latvia) :( , looks cool though.
  • 10 Hide
    p05esto , September 15, 2009 7:07 PM
    Silverlight is used on a lot of sites and applications, far more than you think. There are also a LOT of advantages over Flash. The integration with .NET and the possibilities that provide are eye-opening. Flash is becoming old, legacy weighed down tech....Adobe doesn't even have Flash for 64 bit browsers yet, it's that poorly written. And 64 bit browsers have been out for a few years now. Think about that one.
  • 2 Hide
    Supertrek32 , September 15, 2009 7:37 PM
    Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I prefer good ol' text so much more than all the picture-based GUIs coming out recently. I can navigate so much faster. I can see pictures being useful in some situations, but being a power user I'd rather just have plain text for most things. One of the main reasons I didn't get Vista, and one of the reasons I'm hesitant about Windows 7.
  • 3 Hide
    fazers_on_stun , September 15, 2009 7:40 PM
    ^ +1. IMO, the weekly Flash player updates to plug security holes is ridiculous. And with more people moving to 64-bit OSes, Adobe is really behind the curve on this issue.
  • -2 Hide
    kencolestud69 , September 15, 2009 8:04 PM
    Nice attempt by Microsoft. I rather use the Cooliris plug-in for Firefox plus the browser of my choice.
  • -4 Hide
    kencolestud69 , September 15, 2009 8:07 PM
    Nice attempt by Microsoft. I rather use the Cooliris plug-in for Firefox plus the "search engine of my choice".
  • 2 Hide
    SirCrono , September 15, 2009 8:15 PM
    fazers_on_stun^ +1. IMO, the weekly Flash player updates to plug security holes is ridiculous. And with more people moving to 64-bit OSes, Adobe is really behind the curve on this issue.

    Well, I remember macromedia's flash being really cool and groundbreaking, adobe's flash on the other hand is just as sucky as reader.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 16, 2009 2:02 AM
    MS you can keep your silverlight
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , September 16, 2009 3:39 AM
    p05estoAdobe doesn't even have Flash for 64 bit browsers yet, it's that poorly written. And 64 bit browsers have been out for a few years now.
    Actually there's a 64-bit alpha version for Linux and they claim that Windows and OS X versions are in development. But I agree that it shouldn't have taken so long.

    I don't use NET so I don't have an opinion on how it compares to Adobe Flex.
  • 0 Hide
    Andraxxus , September 16, 2009 8:39 AM
    Microsoft has a: Top iPhone Apps now thats nice.
  • 0 Hide
    E7130 , September 16, 2009 1:49 PM
    FlayerSlayerFunny how Microsoft wants the world to use Silverlight instead of flash, but only MS sites USE Silverlight. Everyone else uses Flash. So do we install and use Silverlight to visit MS, or do we stop trying to visit MS?I seem to recall IBM tried this. They made OS/2 only compatible with IBM printers, hoping to sell more printers. Instead, people just avoided OS/2.


    Well just because its been around for a while doesn't make it better, from a developer stand Silverlight has advantages over Flash.
  • 0 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 16, 2009 3:28 PM
    jhansonxiActually there's a 64-bit alpha version for Linux and they claim that Windows and OS X versions are in development. But I agree that it shouldn't have taken so long.I don't use NET so I don't have an opinion on how it compares to Adobe Flex.


    I think they only did that cause 32-bit flash doesn't run in 64-bit linux(at least for me). everything else works fine so why should they care?
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