Content or Images for Search Engines?

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The search engine arena just got a lot more crowded with a dramatic increase in new search engines that are engineered to deliver searchable images rather than text. This new wrinkle is challenging providers to develop libraries of hundreds of thousands of images along with a method for searchers to successfully describe the appropriate image they are seeking.

Naturally, the big kahunas like Google are capable of collecting millions of image-laden data bases and possess the technology to satisfy those involved in image search. However, new names have cropped up on the search engine landscape like daises. Companies with names like PC Search, Exa Lead and Quality Image Search are vying to become the Google of image search engines.

One of those new companies, Incogna, has gone beyond key word searches to have developed a new way to search for images by combining key words with image queries. The founder of the Canadian based start-up, ;Kris Woodbeck, studied computer image recognition at the University of Ottawa as a graduate. He developed algorithms modeled after the human brain. The result was a parallel processing capability titled ICRE (Image Content Recognition Engine). ICRE takes advantage of graphics processing clusters and its patent-pending distributed SIMD indexing algorithms to sift through a researcher’s requested data. It has quickly established itself as a contender for the preferred image content search solution.

The difficulty in image content searches lies in the labyrinth of filters that must be employed in order to reach the appropriate results. The search begins with a key word search using terms like “The Empire State building”. The Image search engine then offers visuals to select from to keep narrowing down the search. Is there room for both content search engines and image search engines? The primary barrier comes down to economy of scale. Although a young company like Incogna may secure a foothold, it’s going to be difficult to compete with behemoths like Google that has the resources to easily compete with any new contenders.

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