Microsoft looks to be attacking Google with just about everything it can think of. It’s pushing Bing to be the chief competitor to Google, trying to get past its current 3.5% market share. Bing’s newest attack looks to be with its new visual search feature.
The idea of visual search is that users, when searching for terms, rather than seeing lines of text will see images of what they’re searching for. Those images can then be sorted to refine the search. For example, searching HDTVs will show images of all different HDTVs, while on the sidebar there are options to limit the search by brand, price, size, resolution, etc. As of right now, the feature is limited to specific searches such as HDTVs and new cars, though it should be coming to more soon.
Bing’s new feature, however, isn’t exactly new to the game. Google Product Search has had similar functionality for a while, though Bing has the options on the sidebar, making them easier to access than the bottom of the page on Google. That alone might make it a bit easier to use than Google’s version. It’s doubtful that this will change anyone’s search engine of choice, as while it is an improvement, not everything people search for can be identified with an image. What Microsoft needs to do to really get that market share it wants is to get Yahoo moving on moving over to Bing as the default search engine.