Visual Search E-Commerce

Visual Search (search by image) has been in limbo, as far as e-commerce is concerned, while companies look for ways to profitably implement the technology. Search engines seem to like visual search, except Bing who provided it as early as September 2009 but dropped it a year later. Google users have had visual search since June 2011 and Baidu the first choice of China’s 600 million internet users implemented it last month. Now Rakuten Ichiba (the largest e-commerce site in Japan) is trialing visual fashion search on its Taiwanese website. Users upload an image of clothing, bags, shoes or accessories and are then offered similar fashion items which they can purchase right away. I spent a while uploading a few fashion images to see how well it works and in my view e-commerce visual search still has a long way to go before becoming useful. Rakuten Fashion Finder, what do you think of it?

Rakuten e-commerce website visual search

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