25 September 2005

Visual thinking question for today

So I was thinking today: how could you design an interface for visual search? I don't mean where you'd enter text and find an image, like Google image seach (which I love). Although you can find an image that way, you're still searching with text. I want to incorporate images into the search process.

For example, what if you know what something looks like, but don't know what it's called?

I picture an interface that involves fuzzy logic; one that would enable you to gradually circle in by choosing things like "kinda like this."

Such an interface could be helpful; for example, if you were searching your hard drive for an image, and although you knew what it looked like, you also knew the image title was something meaningless, like "img00345.jpg.

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Anonymous said...

There is a Linux app, not quite sure wether an image library or an image editor, with the ability to search for images after a scribble you make of it.

Unknown said...


Do you know the name of it or where it can be found?

Anonymous said...

Check out http://picasa.google.com/index.html

Its free!

Step said...

There's an online image search engine that has taken baby steps in this direction, where you select an image and that narrows down the results to similar images. Here's the article I remember reading (found via Google, of course): search engine watch. The site is www.cydral.com. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing something several years ago from IBM where they were going to add this capability to DB2, their database server. The ad showed a hand-drawn outline of a bottle (I think) next to an actual image of a bottle, implying that you could draw something and search for objects that were close to that.

A quick google search shows that this capability seems to exist in DB2 today, but I'm not sure if there are any front-end applications that exploit this functionality. All I can see is how to do it programatically. Link here

P.S. I dig the blog, it's now a favorite.

Anonymous said...

man that would be awesome. I think i would pay quite alot for a program thats capable of doing this.

Since a year or two i seem to be suffering from what is called in dutch 'woordvindingsproblemen'; which results in me being able to fully describe how a thing looks and feels but totally incapable of remembering its name. And while this can lead to some hilarious situations it also aggravates me no end.

Ow and i'll second larry's 'P.S.'. I only just discovered this blog last week and i'm already a fan. Keep up the good posts.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mr. Anytime!