Microsoft Bing Launches No Text ‘Visual Search’

September 15, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Microsoft’s new Bing search engine is increasing its efforts to chip away at Google’s dominance in the search engine market, with the recent alliance with Yahoo Inc. and now, the addition of a new visual search feature. Users will soon be given the option to “visualize” their search results without text, to view a gallery of images related to their search.

Microsoft presented its new beta visual search feature at the TechCrunch 50 conference in San Francisco, which provides a forum for start-ups to pitch their ideas to potential investors.

Company executives say that users can process image searches about 20 prcent faster than text only results. The tech giant also claims its new visualization feature is considerably faster than the “traditional image search” provided by Google.

Microsoft sees a future of users abandoning text searches in favor of image results. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s senior vice president of online services believes the new feature taps into the visual decision making process used by many people.

“The whole concept is that the world of search is going to change. There will be a more graphic way people will search, and it will pivot how people search,” said Mehdi.

Still, removing text altogether, seems like a dumbing down of Bing’s search engine. Pure image searches may very well be the wave of the future, but it may also be an acknowledgement of the increasing functional illiteracy of our culture.

The visualization option will only be offered at first, for “money making” categories, such as entertainment, famous people, shopping and sports.

Don Dodge, Microsoft’s director of business development told BBC news that, “There is a lot of advertising money for shopping, for travel and so on. So not only is it a better user experience but it’s a better business model too.”

Conference attendee, Jason Hirschhorn, chief product officer for MySpace.com, pronounced Bing’s new visual feature, as ‘fun and tactile.” Yusuf, you have my check,” Hirschhorn quipped.

Meanwhile, Google is still king of the search engines, capturing 64.6 percent of the market.

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