Zak Mensah on Tuesday 15 September 2009 Tweet this!
Microsoft have introduced a new 'visual search' option to their Bing search engine.
The Bing search engine was launched earlier this year in an attempt to dent Google's market share.
Visual Search was announced yesterday and certainly looks different from traditional search engines. The Visual Search page may not work if your browser decides you are in the UK, but if you change your location to United States (top right of screen) it should launch. It's still in beta and because of the location setting is currently geared towards US users.
The idea is to present users with a selection of browsable galleries - initially entertainment, shopping, famous people, reference and sports (this is where it becomes clear you've switched locations!)
Select a gallery and you are given a panel of thumbnail images - move your mouse over each thumbnail and a search term is placed in the search box for you - no typing required. You also get some extra information beneath the search box and options to sort and narrow your results (e.g. the Periodic Table gallery lets you sort the elements by 'Amount in human body' or narrow the results to liquids only).
It will be interesting to see how this takes off - the Bing blog announcement points out how searchers can use Visual Search to find books and this will "make it even easier to judge a book by its cover", not necessarily something that will appeal to all.