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March 06, 2012

I'll know it when I see it - or can draw it

In case you missed it, Microsoft recently filed a patent for a new kind of search front-end - one where you draw a picture of what you are looking for. 

As posted on Geekwire and on Microsoft in the last few days, the idea is that a user can draw a picture of an object, and the technology can find pictures of similar things. This seems to be related to the 'search by color map' released on Bing in 2010, which has a good tutorial on the Xian-Sheng Hua blog. 

Many folks have lamented Microsoft's late arrival to the smart phone and tablet market; but it's easy to see that this innovative search interface seems to give Bing an advantage in the growing mobile device marketplace. Looking for something? Draw a picture, and search the web. 

I'm looking forward to trying this out - I recall getting a not-so-great grade in art back in elementary school, and I can only hope that this new technology understands what I meant, not what i drew for it. 

Right now it's hard to imagine a use for this in the enterprise - well, other than for public facing search. But I may be wrong. Do you think you can draw an enterprise search request well enough to have a search platform find it? What do you think? 





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