I have encountered many things during my online adventures, but one of the most fascinating discovery was visual search engines. There is no doubt that the world today is more visual than verbal. People prefer TV to books, games to radio, and infographics to interminable verbosities. It is easier to digest images, than to read blocks of text, and when it comes to visual search engines, images are truly worth a thousand words. I have always been a visual person, and this is probably why the concept of visual search engines sounds so tempting.
How Visual Search Engines Work
In terms of functionality, a visual search engine works pretty much like a regular one. A user can type his query or keyword in the search box, and the software returns the result, with the only difference that the results will come in a list of images or videos through which you can navigate. A V.S.E. Will look for image tags used by the webmaster, and according to relevancy it will return results. Moreover, although it is focused on finding visual content, this type of search engine will also discover the link between the image and the source. In other words if you find the image interesting, you can link back to the website on which it was used.
The Benefits of Visual Search Engines
Most people cannot phantom the idea of using something else than Google for searches, but they might be surprised by the advantages and capabilities of a visual search engine. First of all, although the speed of visual search engines cannot be compared to that of regular ones, it is understandable that images are harder to list. Most people don’t have time to search for information through text-based websites, and visual content might be exactly what they are looking for.
Most such platforms are extremely interactive, which is a plus. They might prove a reliable source of traffic for HTML5 pages or websites that promote a lot of visual content. While some require special software that will reside on the desktop, it usually consists of a small plug-in which is free. For visual users, such an engine might become an online adventure due to the dynamic nature of the many platforms. Some display their results in the form of a list, while others use special arrangements like 3D cubes. Let’s take a look at some of the most fascinating visual search engine platforms.
I was especially fascinated by Search-Cube because it displays results in a three-dimensional cube instead of using the classic style. The results appear as small, rectangular previews through which you can easily navigate. Search-Cube can display pages, videos, and images, and it doesn’t require a plug-in to use.
oSkope is another example of visual search engine that has an interesting appearance and intuitive features. According to preferences you can change the way results are displayed. Moreover, this visual search assistant will help you find stuff from Ebay, Amazon, Flickr, Fotolia and Youtube. I believe that it can be especially useful for users that are looking to buy things online.
There is no better way to visually understand how the web is connected than by using TouchGraph. This platform has made it a mission to display results according to their connection with other pages. It is powered by Google technology, and it promises an interactive experience for users because they can customize their own map. In other words, the visitor can rearrange the map according to his own interests. In order to use this platform you will need a Java.
If you are interested in the latest news about, just about anything, then Cooliris is the visual platform for you. From the moment you open the extension for the first time you will be able to explore a dynamic 3D wall filled with news, images, blogs and many more. This software is compatible with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.
As a blogger I found this visual search engine particularly useful because it lets you explore visual content without having to open up new tabs, download the image and re-size it in order to fit the format of the page. If you decide to use its Word-press plug-in you will be able to easily navigate through Flickr photos. Compfight is the ideal choice for writers.
For bloggers, writers and webmasters, finding the best image can become a daunting task. Take travel blogs for example. Some people simply don’t have the time or resources to travel all around the world in order to provide users with original snapshots. Some people actually have to search for images, and while Google or Bing offer an enormous collection of images, most of them have been used much too much or are simply irrelevant. Visual search engines use different databases which might provide you with some fresh visual content that will come in handy later.
A lot of visual site owners have had a hard time optimizing their sites for search engine use. The good news is that there are ways to make a highly visual website look better on SERPs with the help of several SEO tweaks. Every business requires certain implementations in order to sell better, and visual search engines make use of these features. Some visual search engines have also been tweaked for people who are also looking for written content.
I haven’t mentioned SearchMe, because it is one of the most popular visual search engines, and because its capabilities are pretty clear. I have to say that I am very excited about the prospect of flipping pages like a book, rather than getting lost through endless pages of keywords and text. If you find something interesting, you can visit the page and find the information that you are looking for. If you are a crafter, blogger, or simply looking for awesome pics, visual search engines are the perfect choice because they spare users from all the useless images that are not relevant to your query.
Anna Robeson is an experienced SEO professional who often consults with several digital agencies in NYC. She has recently decided to pursue her dreams, and she loves to write about social media, internet marketing and search engine optimization.