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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9 comments:

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.

dave said...

Anonymous,

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?

Larry 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.

Jay 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.

MrAnytime said...

Hey there, I am the anonymous user who posted the first comment. I found the linux app, it's called ImgSeek, you can get it here:

http://imgseek.sourceforge.net

There's also a screenshot of it in action:

http://imgseek.sourceforge.net/sshot/9814e2bd8884d0d96a7d19c0a42403d5.png

Back when I used Linux more often I fiddled around with it a bit, the results are quite decent, though I don't have a need for it and I'm not sure how it would handle bigger image databases than mine.

dave said...

Thanks Mr. Anytime!

Kevin Jones said...

tom atwoodat a still stealth startup, datagrid, (he sold a couple of complex object database companies, are working on search that is anti reductionist, but essentially quantum; when you close off one opportunity, you just have a new world to look at. for visual search to be effective, it would need follow that sort of guideline; search in parametic terms closes off opportunities to create fewer of them.