Ask Jeeves has recently launched a brand-new image search service, using some innovative techniques to identify high-quality pictures on the web. How does it stack up against Google, Yahoo and MSN? Chris Sherman of SearchDay takes a closer look in Searching For a Better Image.
All four of the major search engines have image search services. In fact, Ask Jeeves has had a picture search function powered by Picsearch, since 2003. Their new image search was developed internally and uses many of the same features that make its web search feature unique, in addition to some new technologies specifically developed to find imagery.
Image search is different than text search because search engines cannot just look at an image and understand its meaning. Therefore they rely on elements such as file names, alt attributes, text before and after the image and even the overall context of the page or site. Chris points out that Ask Jeeves is doing all of these things, but is also applying its Teoma ranking system to find sites that have a broad representation of images and topics, and identify those that have the greatest degree of “authority” for a particular topic to help determine image relevance.
The article goes on to compare quality between the four by looking at specific search queries and what is returned. He concludes that Ask Jeeves new image search is a step ahead in a notoriously tricky area.