TL:DR Version: Bing will be rolling out a feature that lets Windows users quickly upload a screenshot and search for similar images. This means a new potential touch point for e-commerce searches. How stores can optimize to appear in Bing Visual Search is TBD but it should be monitored.
Bing Launches Visual Search in the US
The great people at Search Engine Land reported on this fun development out of Microsoft. It’s helpful to get some info from the source itself and see what impact this may have on the search landscape.
Per Microsoft’s official release statement the e-commerce applications are interesting. Let’s take a look at an example they give.
“For instance, if you’re planning your wardrobe for winter and you want inspiration from what your favorite celebs are wearing? You’ll find similar results. Or you might be shopping for furniture and see a sofa you like. Snip it and use it to comparison shop with Visual Search results.” (Microsoft)
As of this time Microsoft is not releasing technical information on how similar results are identified by Bing Visual Search and there is no immediate action item e-commerce stores can take to rank well in this new system. It serves as yet another reminder to add that image alt text and make sure you’re using high quality product shots that search engines are able to index and identify easily. Stay tuned as we start to see the impact this will have on search as a whole.