Seems that Google is pushing through some image search innovation lately. First, it was the color search, released a few weeks back. Thanks to a little color palette next to the search tool, you can specify which dominant color you would like to see in your search result.
Not groundbreaking technology. Companies like Idee, Inc or LTU technologies already offer that type of solution. Unlike these two companies, Google does not yet offer the possibility to add colors to each other. That is, if someone was looking for something Red and Blue. I am sure that is in the pipeline.
Another feature is the Similar search. You execute a text search, it displays the result. Click “similar” under an image you like and Google displays all similar images. Again, not groundbreaking technology. Again, companies like LTU and Idee, Inc already license the same technology. Some photo agencies have also started offering this tool ( Getty, Masterfile, ) while others are working on it.
What is important here, is that if Google makes these tool mainstream, then clients to a photo agency will expect to see them on individual sites. It will soon be unacceptable for a commercial stock photo agency not to offer color and similar search. Since these can be easily adapted to an existing database, (LTU Technologies has a great and easy solution), there is really no reason not to offer them.
Finally, Google has also released ( boy they are busy these guys) a “News Timelime ” search which allows to, as per the Wall Street Journal : ” …presents the globs of content already in Google News ? including articles, blogs, photos, scanned newspapers, magazine covers and more ? in a draggable timeline. Users who search for a topic like the Iraq War will see a history of articles, photos and videos arranged by date, week or month and can scroll through them quickly with their mouse. Users can refine their search to specific sorts of news, like newspapers or blogs, and search some non-news sources like Wikipedia or movies.”
Not a lot of titles are offered yet, but however, this raises an interesting issue. Images that had been buried under the successive pages or fresher news will now resurface in the open and under a different format. Will the photo industry remain silent or ask for additional license fee. How many agreements does this one break ?