The Bing Search team has published a new blog post in which they present their latest results in Image Search quality. Typically, searching image is extremely different form searching text since the computers have much less data to go on, without going into potentially expensive image analysis. It is clear that a lot of people are searching for images of celebrities, friends or just looking people up. With that in mind, the Bing team has set up to improve its image search and believe that it is noticeably better than Google’s. Here’s why…
First of all, Bing needs to understand what you are looking for. In the example Microsoft chose, they do a search on “Prince Albert of Monaco”. The “intent” is deemed to be looking for images of the prince himself, so Bing shows images where Albert de Monaco is the primary focus of the image. This is done, thanks to an understanding of what is in the image.
On the other hand, the Google Image results seem to show images of the prince during his recent wedding. It probably fair to believe that these were the most popular images by links or by sheer volume of publication. However, would you consider them more relevant if you were searching for photos of the prince himself? You decide."IN MY TESTS, BING DID HAVE A SLIGHT ADVANTAGE"
Bing shows a number of examples where it image search does have a slight edge over Google, and you can take a look on the Bing blog. I decided to conduct my own searches with phrases like “downtown palo alto” or “potrero hill houses san Francisco”. For that last phrase, I wanted to search for photos of houses. Overall, I would say that Bing Image Search actually has an edge over Google Image Search, which has a tendency to insert irrelevant results like crime statistic, city map and other household income distribution graphs that I wouldn’t care for.
I can hardly say that this will actively pull Google users away, but since the search market is so competitive, any advantage counts and it’s nice to see that Bing continues to make steady progress.