Today the “decision engine” Bing.com added a new feature to its interface: visual search. To access the new interface, head to www.bing.com/visualsearch and install Microsoft Silverlight (if you haven’t done so already). When that’s complete, you can then use the new visual search engine to return results which appear in a stunning 3D-like grid of images which you can scroll though, sort, and filter.
Obviously, a visual search works better for some queries than for others. In the Bing blog post, for example, they showed examples of visual searches for products, books, and cars. But that’s only scratching the surface. You can visualize almost anything – from dog breeds to sports teams. In fact, there are over 100 visual categories already enabled for the new interface. The Visual Search homepage offers up a few “featured galleries” to get you started.
As you re-sort and filter your results using the links provided on the left side of the results page, the images fly across the screen, moving into their new positions. It’s a beautiful example of what Silverlight technology is capable of doing.
Visual search engines have been around for some time, but never has a major search company integrated visual search like this into their own engine. Surprisingly, the end result isn’t just a page of visual eye candy, but an useful interface that actually makes finding what you needed quicker and easier than before.