With hundreds of millions of active global users on Pinterest and Instagram, it's safe to say that today's culture is an image-obsessed one. Cameras come built-in with every device, and at any given moment, people are ready to capture and share their latest meal, purchase or social gathering.
Yet for all the value consumers place on viewing and posting photos, the way they find these pictures is, for the most part, text-based. While Google image search has existed for quite some time, consumers' primary method of locating specific images is by typing keywords, hashtags and company names into a search engine. This can render product photos nearly invisible in search results if a business hasn't taken the time to properly format the image's SEO tags.
A newly released app has the potential to better align the tastes and search behaviors of image-focused consumers. Today (Sept. 3), visual search technology company Superfish announced the launch of its mobile app and desktop solution, LikeThat Décor, a search tool that empowers users to find information about a home décor product simply by uploading a photo of it. [Picturing Success: How Photo-Sharing Can Boost Social Marketing]
"Visual search is an entirely new way of exploring our world and expressing ourselves," said Adi Pinhas, CEO and founder of Superfish, in a statement. "LikeThat Décor empowers people to use images of items that interest them and instantly see similar items so they can quickly and easily make design decisions."LikeThat Décor's iOS interface Credit: LikeThatApps.com
The app uses Superfish's patented technology to analyze and categorize "aspirational photos" from sites like Pinterest and other online image catalogs. Users take pictures, or upload photos from the Web or the LikeThat Décor gallery, and the app displaysvisually similar items from all over the worldwhileproviding product specifications and shopping details. The company's other apps, ShopScout and PetMatch, operate using the same technology, which converts an image into a "model" based on visual features and geometry and compares it with billions of cataloged images.
For small retailers, the emerging trend of image-based searches could prove to be key in competing with larger businesses.
"Visual search will democratize e-commerce," Pinhas told Business News Daily. "It will provide small business owners a better opportunity to get their products discovered online because search results will be based on the visual appeal of products, rather than [having businesses] fight for keywords and SEO results. Superfish is proud to lead the charge in developing a new world of search. It is clear that images are the key to opening this new world."
LikeThat Décor is available on Web browsers at www.likethatapps.com and on the Apple app store. An Android version is due for release later this year. For more information on how it works, visit Superfish's instructional video on YouTube.
Originally published on Business News Daily.