Bing Image Search Gets a Machine Learning Boost

The search engine can now automatically detect objects in web images, courtesy of Microsoft's machine learning technologies.

Machine Learning Boosts Bing

Bing has not only grown some eyes, it has begun to learn how to use them.

Microsoft's search engine has gained the ability to automatically detect objects within a photo online, the company announced on Sept. 12. The new feature, part of the Bing Visual Search toolset, supplements an existing object recognition tool called Detailed View that allows users to draw a box around an item in a picture and search the web for similar-looking items and related shopping links. Using machine learning, image recognition and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, Bing Visual Search can automatically detect items and selects them for the user.

Bing has also developed a knack for spotting celebrities.

The new People Recognition feature automatically displays a box around the faces of public figures when they appear in an image search. Clicking on the box offers a snippet of information about the person, along with a link to additional details.

Of course, Microsoft isn't the only search provider using AI to change how users find and consume content on the web. Or in Google's case, avoid hate and terror content online.

On Aug. 1, Google peeled back the curtain on its efforts to weed out terror videos on YouTube using machine learning. Although the company admits the system isn't perfect, it has already proven effective in finding and blocking objectionable content well before it's discovered by human reviewers. And the system works on a scale that would otherwise overwhelm teams of human watchers.

"With over 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, finding and taking action on violent extremist content poses a significant challenge," stated Google representatives in a blog post. "But over the past month, our initial use of machine learning has more than doubled both the number of videos we've removed for violent extremism, as well as the rate at which we’ve taken this kind of content down."

Google is also using AI to help customers of its online advertising and associated analytics products make the most of their marketing dollars.

Meanwhile, Box is putting it's own AI-enhanced search to work. The cloud file storage and collaboration company announced on Aug. 17 that it was employing Google Cloud Vision's image recognition capabilities to add a layer of intelligence to its repositories of enterprise content.

According to Box, images are the second fastest growing form of content on its platform. Box intends to help customers extract more value out of those files by automatically generating keywords for faster, more accurate image search.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...