Search Bars May Be a Thing of The Past With Image Recognition

Traditionally, online shopping has always had one constant feature. That feature is the search bar which may end up being a thing of the past as originally reported on MIT Technology review. Two large companies on are already testing out the technology which may make your search bar a thing of the past. as well as Pinterest are turning to a technique known as deep learning to shake things up with how their users shop. With deep learning, they are developing programs which will allow users to shop with images, rather than keywords. is utilizing the technology of tech startup Sentient to accomplish this approach. Initially, they will only be offering the image search feature with their women’s boots section of its Canadian store. Users simply click the “visual filter” button and the user is presented with a grid that makes up 12 of its varying styles. The user can then select the styles of interest to them to further match what type of styles they are interested in. By further drilling through the selection, the program then matches the user to choices based on items that match the unique characteristics of the styles chosen so far. Roger Hardy, the CEO of, has stated that there is evidence that visual search helps to increase sales. As a result he is considering expanding the search capability to other categories of footwear.

As for Pinterest, they have decided to allow users to select from images on its service to do their shopping. Users simply draw a box around an item featured on the service and the program will automatically return similar items, some of which will have a buy button attached to make purchasing easier.

These are not the first companies to turn to image recognition software to help drive sales and simplify search. Amazon’s most recent phone, the Fire, had an image search feature based on products that users took pictures of. In 2010 Google purchased This service would find similar products to the one the user was viewing, as well as allow for customization by the user for important features.

Slyce is another technology company which is working with image recognition technology to help drive sales for its retailers. For example, if a user were to select a product on a website that is out of stock, Slyce technology allows for similar style examples to be displayed to increase the likelihood of a sale being completed. This technology is called Product Link.

Another product being developed by Slyce is Scout. Scout allows users to simply take a picture of a product that interest them, and the application will compare pricing for that item using image recognition technology. The application allows users to also clip coupons from some of the largest online couponing websites available.

With time we may possibly see less and less of our standard search bars when browsing online. Image recognition technology has continued to grow by leaps and bounds resulting in new innovative platforms for consumers to find exactly what they’re looking for.