China Internet Image Search Era Comes

 

As we know Tineye.com is a famous image search engine. In China, Baidu launched its image search image function (http://stu.baidu.com) late last year. In the middle of 2011, Google released its search by image feature (http://www.google.com.hk/imghp).

 

Soon after on Aug 15, 2011 Sogou (http://pic.sogou.com/)also launched this function.The search views and functions of the three search engines are highly similar. You can upload an image or copy and paste an image URL.

 

 

What can we obtain when we search by images?

Well, you can find relevant information such as the name, news, etc. of an unfamiliar star or person; you can find the shooting information of a picture; you can find the picture’s reference site; and when you have a picture on hand, you can find a larger size of the image, or one with no watermark, or even ps artwork before processing.

 

As Baidu, Google and Sogou have all launched their image search image functions in China, it is interesting to know the different results which currently come from the three search engines. Below is a comparison chart from Sogou, which Sogou claims reveals the search results from the three search engines for image searches.

 

China-Image-Search-Comparison-Chart2

This Sogou chart is divided into five parts: Perfect match images; content associated with an image; appearance of a similar image; image content identification; convenient drag and drop images. From the chart, we learn that Baidu’s search by image feature is not better than Google’s and Sogou’s.

 

I conducted two tests to compare the three search engines. For the first test I put an Optimus Prime image into each. The search results are similar. My original image can be found as well as a larger one along with other reference information. For my second test I uploaded a lace wedding shoe. The results this time are different.

 

China-Google-Image-Search

 

After searching for the shoe on Google, Google will automatically suggest a probable keyword for the image. The suggested keyword “lace wedding shoes” is quite similar to my own guess keyword “white rose shoes”. Google shows 7 pages for the image and I am glad to see all 70 sites are about these kind of shoes.

 

China-Sogou-Image-Search

 

Sogou, however, shows the image size and only one relevant result. So it seems at the moment Sogou is not as strong as they have indicated in the above chart which they produced, however as a small search engine the function is acceptable. Of course, it needs to improve its accuracy and indexed results.

 

China-Baidu-Image-Search

 

The Baidu search result is disappointing. It provides no result but a sentence: “sorry, no results found matching the picture. Thank you for using Baidu STU, we will continue to enhance the effect.” The search by image function of Baidu STU is still a test version, even though it launched 10 months ago.

 

 

So is the China Internet Image Search Era coming?

From my perspective, I think the image search function is important. It is important for various reasons such as when shopping online for the same thing, if we can find a cheaper price by doing an image search then that would be great. As I know, Taobao is now testing its search by image function called “Imagine” (http://imagine.taobao.com/).

 

Taobao is the first C2C website to get into the search by image field. If the search by image technology becomes mature, the original works will greatly increase. For the SEO field, SEOer’s should not just pay attention to the image tags, but also focus on the image design because an attractive image may bring you more traffic!