Bing has enabled the ability to make a search using images in the latest update to its mobile app on iPhone. The feature allows Apple users to use an image from the web or a picture they have taken on their smartphones as a basis for the search.
In its update log for version 6.5.1 of the Bing app for iOS, Microsoft has noted that the search by image function can be used to “find similar images from the web”. This could be particularly useful if an individual wants to find a product to buy on an ecommerce site or wants to access other relevant information.
Users can find the new image search function within the app by navigating to the home screen and touching the search icon and then the camera icon located in the lower right corner. The image being used is also framed, so the scope can be narrowed or expanded to make it easier to recognise the object.
Bing is not the first company to introduce picture-based searches on mobile, as Google launched a similar “Goggles” platform back in 2009 before shutting it down five years later. Goggles was quite limited, as it only featured basic identification, while Bing’s effort aims to perform a fully-fledged search based on the image. Google does offer a similar image search on the web.
Bing appears to be targeting the feature towards users who have just discovered something they like, such as a pair of shoes. Taking a photo then allows users to find further details on the web. Amazon also allows people to search for products in a similar manner and buy them immediately if they want to.
Microsoft released the updated app on 29th April, so it should be available on the iTunes App store now. However, a spokesperson for the corporation declined to confirm whether the software will be arriving on Windows phone or Android in the near future. The arrival of the updated app follows Microsoft’s release of Word Flow, a one-handed keyboard that aims to make it easier for iPhone users to tap, swipe and type.