Microsoft swaps pictures for text in some searches

Sep 14, 2009 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer
Bing logo

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. is testing a way to display some search results as galleries of moveable images instead of text links, part of its ongoing attempt to differentiate its Bing search engine from Google.

Bing's new page lets people flip through pictures to track down where and when a movie is playing, read up on baseball players or shop for items like digital cameras. You can go to bing.com/visualsearch to browse available categories.

Microsoft used Silverlight, its technology for making sophisticated Web sites with lots of content and moving parts, to build the visual search program. But in its current form, it's something of a throwback to the days when organizing the Web was done by humans, not powerful computer algorithms.

For example, Yahoo Inc. began as a curated directory of Web pages. But as the Internet evolved, so did methods of automatically indexing material. Google Inc.'s mastery of powerful algorithms pushed it to the front of the pack.

For Bing's new feature, Microsoft hand-picked about 50 categories and worked with outside companies, including shopping sites, to pull in the necessary pictures and descriptions. Stefan Weitz, a director in the Bing group, said he hoped the feature would be based more on search algorithms in the future, but that for the test-run "beta" launch it was more important to present a polished, if limited, experience.

launched in May, promoting it as an improvement over Google-style "10 blue links" for tasks like shopping and travel. Microsoft's share of U.S. searches rose to 10.7 percent in August from 9 percent in July, according to the Nielsen Co. executed 64.6 percent of U.S. searches in August, according to Nielsen, while , the No. 2, was used for 16 percent.

Bing's new visual searching feature was being unveiled Monday at a conference staged by the TechCrunch news blog in San Francisco.

On the Net: http://www.bing.com/visualsearch

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bing luring Internet searchers: comScore

Jun 09, 2009

Microsoft's new Internet search engine Bing boosted the software giant's share of the US market in the week following its release, industry tracking firm comScore reported Tuesday.

Bing it on: Microsoft overhauls search, again

May 28, 2009

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. is rolling out a redesigned search site in the coming days and hopes it will lure more Web surfers than the two most recent incarnations, Live Search and MSN Search.

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

Aug 30, 2014

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 0