Goodbye Keywords, Hello Cameras

Nov 16

Imagine you start to notice the same bicycle parked down your street every day. You really love the bicycle; the colour, the shape, the size, it is exactly the type you want to buy for yourself. But your chances of meeting the bicycle owner to ask where they purchased their bike from are very slim, and no matter how many ways you describe the bicycle to Google, you cannot find the same one in your search results. This is where CamFind and similar apps step in.

Simply snapping a photo of an object can now conduct an internet search without using a single word. CamFind aims to produce detailed results for every visual search including where you can purchase the product, it’s availability in stores and online, the price, and even the material it is made from!

This technology, although astounding, is not brand new. Google Goggles employed the same concept and was first released in 2010; the image recognition app was available until May 2014 when it was discontinued due to being of ‘no real use to many people’. However, since 2014 the idea of a keyword-less search has become more attractive while the search engine strives to deliver the most convenient service to internet searchers.

If visual-centric technologies come together to create a future of keyword-less searches, what does this mean for the marketing game? If companies want to keep up with the evolution of online searching, every single product image which is displayed online will require complete optimisation, as well optimising their website as a whole. Images have to tell a story; file names become more descriptive, captions and descriptions should be utilised, and image XML sitemaps are a must. It goes without saying, but the photography should be faultless. The images need to be recognisable and distinctive to keep up with the search box transformations that we will undoubtedly experience through the following years.

Leading e-commerce site Amazon already offers the option to find products on their site using photos or barcodes. Mike Torres is the Director of Product Management for Amazon’s Fire Phone technology and he states that the products aim is to fully translate the real world into the digital world. Another app with this same objective is Built by Microsoft, the machine-learning technology becomes smarter over time meaning that eventually it will be able to recognise every possible product image. This app currently identifies what it can see in an image and connects it to other relating objects, a demonstration of Microsoft’s Cognitive Service intelligence.

Technology is adapting for our basic human need to visualise everything by removing the obstacles encountered when using a search box.  Soon our cameras will act in the place of our descriptive keywords we currently use in a bid to find the most relevant search result.


Image Credit: Moodstocks