You may do an image search to see what someone or something looks like. But there are many other reasons to do image searches.
Now you can search images to see related items and get inspiration for fashion, travel, decorating and more.
Google and Pinterest have each created new ways to search using images. Both companies have recognized that people who search images may not want to simply find out what something looks like.
Instead, you may want to find out other information. You may want to know about information related to what’s in a photo.
You may want to see images similar to the images you’re searching. Or, if you’re searching fashion, you may want to see images in a similar style. Or, in the case of food, you may want to find recipes for what you’re searching.
When you want to search for information that’s related to what you’re searching for, these new features from Google and Pinterest could give you the answers you want. These new features could inspire you with ideas in addition to giving you direct answers.
New Image Search Features
Google launched two new features for its image search last week, both of which help you find related items. These new features from Google, Similar Items and Style Ideas, are related to fashion and available on mobile devices.
Pinterest has also launched new features that help you use images to find information. Pinterest Lens lets you use your phone’s camera and photos on your phone to search for information. Pinterest also added an image search feature to its Chrome extension to help you get information.
Google Similar Items Image Search
Google Image Search recently added a new way to search images. Now, when you search an image, you can search for “Similar Items.” This is designed to help users find items of a similar style, which may help shoppers find what they want more easily.
The Similar Items feature works when you do a Google Image Search using an Android device, and on the Google website for mobile. You can use it on iPhone and iPad by going to google.com in the Safari app, but it won’t work in the Google app.
By the end of 2017 Google will be adding Similar Items to Image Search on other platforms.
This feature was announced last week and, for now, is very limited with the types of items you can search for.
So far, Similar Items will work with searches for handbags, sunglasses, and shoes. More items will be added soon, including other fashion items as well as home and garden items.
Google Style Ideas
Google also launched a new feature called “Style Ideas.” When you do a Google Image Search for a fashion item, Style Ideas can suggest accessories to go with that item and will show you that item in lifestyle photos so you can see how it looks in the real world.
For example, if you are searching for a pair of shoes, Style Ideas can show you dresses and handbags to go with those shoes. You also may see images of people wearing those shoes.
This image from Google shows how Style Ideas works.
Like Similar Items, Style Ideas works when you do a Google Image Search using an Android device, and on the Google website for mobile. You can see Style Ideas on iPhone and iPad by going to google.com in the Safari app, but not in the Google app.
(I’m thinking Google wants us to start dressing better and is trying to improve our fashion sense with these two new features.)
The Pinterest app for iPhone and Android has been updated with a new feature called Pinterest Lens that lets you search for pins using the camera on your phone or tablet. Pinterest Lens works worldwide with phones that are set to the English language.
To start using Pinterest Lens, open the Pinterest app, then tap the magnifying glass icon. Tap the red camera icon to take a photo of the object you want to search.
The app will try to identify the object and show you related pins. You can also choose keywords to guide the app towards pins you want to see.
You can use Pinterest Lens with food to get ideas for recipes,
with colors to get ideas for decorating,
and with places to get ideas for travel.
Pinterest Lens also lets you use photos already on your phone. Tap the photo icon in the top right corner of the screen to use photos you’ve already taken.
Pinterest Lens is in beta, meaning it’s still being developed. It doesn’t recognize every item, but will improve the more people use it.
Pinterest Related Image Search
Pinterest added a new feature to its extension on Chrome to help you search images to find related pins. If you use Chrome and have the Pinterest extension, you will see more than the red Save button when you hover your cursor over an image.
Now you will also see a magnifying glass icon that will let you find related pins.
When you click the search icon you will see a list of keywords and pins that are related to the items in the photo.
But the results do not take you to the Pinterest website. Instead, they open a new window with related pins and keywords. You can click on a pin to be taken to the Pinterest website, if you’d like.
Do you search using images? Do you like having more options to search using images? Which of these new ways to search using images would be the handiest for you?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
* Garden image (edited) courtesy of Rahul Misra via Flickr and Creative Commons