Update: Just to be clear, Google does not include Knowledge Graph results on Google Goggles results at this time, as a Google spokesperson confirmed for us.
A little over a year ago, Google came out with Search By Image for desktop search. It basically does for desktop search what Google Goggles does for mobile. It allows you to search the web based on an image, as opposed to text. Today, Google announced some improvements it has made to the feature.
First, in case you’re not familiar with Search By Image, here’s the promo video:
“Since its launch last year, people have been using Search by Image to do everything from tracking down the origins of old photographs to more exotic applications like search by drawing, recursive search by image, and creating photomosaics,” says software engineer Sean O’Malley in a post on Google’s Inside Search blog. “To continue making Search by Image more useful, almost every week we launch changes to the algorithms that power this feature.”
Google says it has made improvements to provide “best guesses” for more images more often, while making guesses more accurate.
Secondly, Search By Image is now taking advantage of Google’s Knowledge Graph.
“With the recent launch of the Knowledge Graph, Google is starting to understand the world the way people do,” says O’Malley. “Instead of treating webpages as strings of letters like ‘dog’ or ‘kitten,’ we can understand the concepts behind these words. Search by Image now uses the Knowledge Graph: if you search with an image that we’re able to recognize, you may see an extra panel of information along with your normal search results so you can learn more. This could be a biography of a famous person, information about a plant or animal, or much more.”
Chrome and Firefox users can simply drag images from Google’s Knowledge Graph Results to the search box, and start a new search, according to Google. We’ve been unable to actually make this happen so far. Perhaps the feature is rolling out. When we tried in Chrome, it displayed a “+” sign when we placed an image over the search box, but didn’t actually perform a search. When we tried in Firefox, it simply searched for the images’ URL’s, which was equally unhelpful. All of that said, it seems like a fairly useless feature anyway. The top Knowledge Graph image, should be what you searched for in the first place, and if there are additional ones, you should just be able to click on them to carry out a new search.
Google says it has also made improvements to freshness and expanded the index for Search By Image, so photos from the news can potentially be returned as results.