Web Search leader Google added a significant new way to find something online: instead of typing in text, just drag a photo into the search box, “and ask Google to figure out what it is,” the company says.
With “Search by Image,” Google says, “you can explore the web in an entirely new way by beginning your search with an image.”
The technique brings technology from its mobile operations to desktop search. “Searching with speech recognition started first on mobile, and so did searching with computer vision,” Google says. Its Google Goggles mobile app “has enabled you to search by snapping a photo on your mobile phone since 2009, and today we’re introducing Search by Image on the desktop.”
Google advises the method may work better in many circumstances: “Try it out when digging through old vacation photos and trying to identify landmarks—the search [mountain path] probably isn’t going to tell you where you were, but computer vision may just do the trick.”
Users can drag and drop an image from the web or their computer, upload an image through a dialog box, or copy and paste the URL for an image.