Search engine giant steps up fashion searches

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Search engine giant steps up fashion searches

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 04/13/2017
Google hopes its new visual search tools will become a new accessory for its fashion shoppers.

To assist customers eager to buy merchandise featured in online lifestyle images, Google introduced two new mobile image-based search tools this week that will help customers locate their desired pieces more easily.

The first solution, called “Similar Items,” uses machine vision technology — or image-based analysis — to identify products featured in online lifestyle photos. As shoppers type their desired item into the search bar, the solution displays images and content of matching products — including prices and where it is sold.

Currently, the solution identifies images of handbags, sunglasses and shoes. More apparel, and home and garden categories will be added in the next few months, Google said.

 Meanwhile, Google’s “Style Ideas” solution presents lifestyle images and outfits that showcase how the searched product can be worn in real life. The tool also displays an expanded carousel for “Similar Items” recently viewed.

“Finding price and availability information was one of the top image search feature requests from our users. The Similar Items carousel gets millions of impressions and clicks daily from all over the world,” according to Google.

Both solutions are available in the Google app for Android and mobile Web, and will be expanded to other platforms during 2017, Google said.

The search tools rival a similar program launched by Pinterest last month. The social media site features a visual search tool that enables pinners to save images found online and use them as a jump-off point for discovering similar ideas on Pinterest.