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New (to me) and Useful: Visual Search

Many of you know that online searching frustrates me. That frustration results, in large part, from the ugliness of search results and their inability to let me describe what kind of thing I’m looking for. Pattern matching, result sorting, pish posh. I want internet finding. Enter visual search. Thanks, machine learning and digital image processing!

I’ve been hunting for new black shoes that I can wear with both jeans and suits for years. Years! Molly, my incredibly helpful librarian friend, introduced me to Like.com. Information Aesthetics, a fantastic blog, introduced me to Modista.

Like and Modista allow you to search for shoes, watches, sunglasses, handbags, etc. visually. On Like, you enter some search terms like “black boots” and then get to click on ones you like and see many more that are visually similar. You can filter by color, style, brand, site, all kinds of useful categories. Modista starts with a kind of item, such as “eyewear” and then shows you a variety of styles. Clicking on examples refines the search. Modista uses fancy sliders for limits on price and other continuous variables.

I found black boots at Zappos that I’m keeping; I almost love them. I’ll use visual search again the next time I need shoes or accessories, and I look forward to the improvements coming to Like’s apparel searches. Searching by sight is so much more fun than plowing through those boring text lists!


So, what do you think ?

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