Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Semantic Image Search Engine

We realize we could make image search experience better by understanding users intent and deliver results based on it. Atleast, for high volume queries this could significantly skyrocket user experience. Let me explain how and why.

Image Search results page on Google,Bing and Yahoo for the teen sensation "Justin Bieber" which is one of the most popular query on image search has been more or less static since past few years. I see the same old images of justin bieber. But my experience on web results page for this term is totally different. I see couple of fresh News results at the top, followed by latest justin bieber videos posted on youtube, followed by realtime tweets and then comes static web links at the bottom. First half of the web results page is dynamic and keeps changing the moment fresh content is available on the web. Why not image search? Justin Bieber has been searched over 50 million times in 2010 on image search itself. This number is huge and by 2015 we can expect over 100 million queries for this term given his fame and popularity. So why on earth are users searching for this term again and again? From users feedback, we realize they are looking for fresh image content.

Lets dive directly into how we cater to users intent and help them get the content they are looking for in quickest possible time.

Today, a search for 'justin bieber' on NachoFoto would show the following suggestions next to image results.

Justin Bieber Madame Tussauds
Justin Bieber Miley Cyrus
Justin Bieber Selena Gomez
Justin Bieber NBA All-Star
Justin Bieber Grammy Awards
Justin Bieber Super Bowl
Justin Bieber Ozzy Osbourne
Justin Bieber Never Say
Justin Bieber Golden Globe Awards
Justin Bieber Death Threats
Justin Bieber Chris Brown
Justin Bieber Z100 Jingle Ball
Justin Bieber German TV

Yesterday, the 17 year old social media king's wax figure were unveiled at Madame Tussauds wax museums in New York, Amsterdam and London. As expected, we saw the term 'justin bieber' in google trends hot list for few hours yesterday. This leaves little doubt that in those few hours millions of justin bieber fans were looking for newest wax figure pictures of the singer. If you do a quick search for 'justin bieber' on Google and Bing images, you will not see a single latest wax figure pic. Suprisingly, even a search for 'justin bieber wax figure' or 'Justin Bieber Madame Tussauds' on Google and Bing wouldn't let you find latest pictures.

At NachoFoto, we are trying to address this problem by showing a list of fresh suggestions so that users have a choice and can express that they want just one type of results. 'Justin Bieber Madame Tussauds' is right at the top of suggestions list and it shows latest pictures of the singers wax figure. NachoFoto also makes its users aware of content they are not looking for but might be interested in. If you look at the suggestions list above, you will notice that users have a choice to browse pictures of justin bieber from the recent Grammy Awards or the Golden Globe Awards or with his girlfriend Selena Gomez from the Oscars.

NachoFoto's Semantic technology leverages fresh content on the web to find Suggestions unlike existing search engines that uses users searching pattern. Though using users searching pattern works for many queries, we realize there are many high volume and trending queries for which this approach does not give optimum results.

We have a vision of delivering freshest and most relevant 'Related searches' for as many queries on image search so that users get what they are looking for in just one click. We are just getting started though, so stay tuned.

Some interesting queries you might want to try
tiger woods
rafael nadal
mark zuckerberg
auto show

-By NachoFoto Team

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Introducing Timeline in Image Search

Timeline is a fun way to explore images if you are one of those users who just don't want to miss a single new image of your favorite celebrity, sports-star, automobile, gadget, event or trends in fashion. Users can choose to view latest images, oldest images, or changes over time.

If you are a big fan of Tiger Woods, with one click you could browse his images from various tournaments he has played in past one year. The first screenshot is the image search results page for Tiger Woods.

If you click on any one of the spikes in the timeline, you will see how we show timeline for the particular month you just selected. For example, if you click on October you will see tiger woods images from the Ryder Cup held in Europe.

Early November you will see images from WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai

Mid November
you will see images from JBWere Masters, held near Melbourne, Australia

Early December
you will see images from Chevron World Challenge held in California

January last week you will see images from Farmers Insurance Open held near San Diego

and so on....

Enhancing user experience on image search has always been our top priority. With the Timeline feature we have taken just another step in that direction.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Straight from NachoFoto Labs ~ "Related Searches" Comparision Chart in Image Search

Our Search Quality Evaluation team conducted an experiment to compare "Related searches" shown by Google Images, Bing Images, Yahoo Images and NachoFoto for over a thousand queries. Below you will see "Related searches Comparision chart" for some of the queries and our conclusion.

Note: ”HTC” case study was conducted on 17th Jan’11 ~ Results on Nachofoto might have changed if you search for HTC today

“HTC” is one of the popular search query in “Gadgets & Technology” category.
Given the fact that a new HTC model is launched every 2-3 weeks, there is no doubt that users are looking for latest smartphone models of HTC. And we can also be very sure that users won’t be interested in models as old as 2008 or 2009 or even six months old HTC model.

If you see Related searches offered by Google Images, Bing Images and Yahoo images, most of the HTC models were launched between 1-3 years ago.
If you compare those with Nachofoto results, you will see that the top 2 results
“HTC Evo Shift 4G” and “HTC Thunderbolt” were launched to public few days before we conducted this experiment and the 3rd one “HTC 7 Pro” was launched just few weeks ago.

Lets take a look at another interesting example from Entertainment category.

Note: ”Miley Cyrus” case study was conducted on 17th Jan’11 ~ Results on Nachofoto might have changed if you search for Miley Cyrus today

We have seen the term “Miley Cyrus” appearing in “google trends” and/or “google insights for image search” atleast once every week. In past two months number of searches for ‘Miley Cyrus” skyrocketted when
1. her leaked pictures of smoking salvia with bong hit the web
2.first pictures of her latest album ‘So Undercover’ were made public on the
3.she threw her 18th birthday party
4.first pictures of her album ‘Who owns my heart’ were released on the web

Now it is quite obvious that most of the users want to see fresh and latest images and not the old ones shown by existing image search engines.
If you take a moment and look at “Related searches” shown by Google,Bing and Yahoo image search engines, it is obvious that most of the users are not actually looking for that.
Instead they would be most interested in exploring images of her very own recent birthday party or her pics from American music awards or from the MTV music awards or her leaked smoking pictures and so on.

Offering “Fresh” results has always been one of the most important goals of a search engine and Image Search is no exception. Most users don’t want out of date information.
By offering “Fresh Related searches” image search engines will not only gives their users an opportunity to explore content they are looking for but also enhances overall user experience on image search. Users get what they are looking for and has every good reason to browse more images and spend more time on image search.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Should we really care for Recent Images in Universal Search?

Google introduced Universal search back in May 2007. The whole idea behind the Universal Search Page was to break down the walls that separate various search properties and blend content from Images,Maps,Videos,Books,Blog posts and News into their web results. Since its launch, we have seen many useful additions to the universal search page.Very recently in Dec 2009 Google integrated Realtime tweets in their universal search page. Today if you search for world series you could see important statistics like game scores and team standings.

How Universal Search works?

Universal search does not include results from all search verticals in web results for all queries.It will pick top results from only those search verticals which are closely related to the search query.For example, a search for 'paris' will show google maps result at the top.Conversely if a query like 'earthquake' is not related to maps, you will not see google maps results blended in web results.If a query gains enough momentum in News results,couple of most popular news sources are shown in web results and likewise for other search verticals.

Currently, Indonesia is experiencing one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.Earthquake, tsunami and volcanic eruption battered the island in less than 48 hours.Lets have a look at what Google,Bing and Yahoo’s universal search results page has in place for one of the most searched term "merapi volcano" this week on the internet.

Google’s Universal Page for “merapi volcano”

You get to see results from Google News, latest videos from youtube and bbc and latest blog posts along with 10 blue web links.So far Nice. But this is a type of query where you would also expect to see latest images of merapi volcano.There are probably thousands of recent images on blogs,news sites and on microblogging sites for this search term but Google fails to pick the best images from these sources for its universal search page.They do show a decade old images of merapi volcano but we want fresh content.

Bing’s Universal Page for “merapi volcano”

Like Google ,even Bing fails to get show recent images of merapi volcano.

Yahoo’s Universal Page for “merapi volcano”

How is Yahoo doing for this query? The newly launched Accordian box does the trick for Yahoo.It shows recently published news articles,videos,tweets and images.All in a beautifully organized box just one click away from each other.What i din’t like about Yahoo is, they show all the content from Yahoo Sites only.Which means if you search for something for which Yahoo Sites does not have content they will probably not show you the accordian box even if recent content is available on other sites on the internet.For example,search for macbook air on yahoo. They display latest news articles at the top but i was also expecting latest images of the new macbook air.

It is even more disturbing for search terms like ‘halloween costumes’ and ‘pumpkin’’. Currently,Microblogging sites are flooded with high-quality images for these terms.These images certainly should have been there on universal search page until the halloween week gets over.

Not that google is not making any efforts to index recent images from the web. You can certainly go to Google News, do a search and click on images to see recent image results.For recent images from microblogging sites, google recently launched an ‘update with images’ feature in its realtime search.Now both these sources of recent images has loads of noise. So the challenge here is to filter out the noise and pick the best images from these sources and show them on universal search page when it really matters.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Try out our FIFA World Cup Plugin

Our dev team have come up with a cool firefox plugin for the ongoing soccer world cup!

When you do a search on Google,Bing or on Twitter, Recent images if found on nachofoto,related to your query will be integrated right into Google,Bing and Twitter search results page.

For Wikipedia
When you visit any of the Wikipedia article, you will see recent images related to the topic integrated within the article.

The plugin will trigger only for world cup related search queries.

You can download the plugin from this page http://nachofoto.com/fifa

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A quick look back at launch...

It has been a terrific month for us since the day we launched on Techcrunch. Nachofoto got covered by Mashable, Lifehacker.com, Searchenginejournal.com, SearchEngineWatch.com, Internet Search Engine Database, examiner.com and many other publications.

Apart from this we have received a phenomenal response from the blogger/journalist community and the twitterosphere.Quite often a head-to-head comparision with Google and Bing image search was made by many which really got us excited to work hard and take this to the next level.

See what people are saying about Nachofoto

We are incredibly proud of what our small team has been able to build from scratch already.We are committed to improve our search every day.
Thank you for your feedback and trying us out!

Monday, April 12, 2010

NachoFoto Launches on Techcrunch

Read the full article at http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/12/nachofoto-launches-realtime-image-search-portal/