Google Image Swirl: Better than Bing’s Visual Search?

by claire on November 17, 2009

If you missed it, Google announced it’s Google Image Swirl today – which is kind of like Wonderwheel in how it works, but allows you to narrow your image search based on visually similar items.  I did a search for “bank teller” and clicked on the most obvious match, which yielded these results:

Bank Teller Google Image Swirl

Gave me a chuckle, ’cause clearly the guy in the upper left is not someone I’d want to encounter as my bank teller, but rather might turn around and leave the bank if I saw him standing in line with me.  I suppose “bank teller” and “bank robber” might be synonymous in some twisted definition.   Then I saw the guy on the lower right with the ears and clicked on him…. I think he’s some sort of Harry Potter character (perhaps tangentially related to banking?)….

bank teller google image swirl result 2

Anyway, it’s fun, but I’m not convinced of how useful it is.  Might be better to be able to select colors + people, etc. like some of the stock photo image searches.  However, it beats Bing’s Visual Search IMHO, which is pretty limited to their preset categories and requires Silverlight.  Surely beating Bing was the goal, so kudos for Google!

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