Microsoft this week revealed it's at work on a way to search the Internet using photos captured by cell phone cameras.
So rather than using a keyboard to enter an Internet search query, people can e-mail Microsoft a camera phone photo of what they're searching for. Photo2Search, as Microsoft calls the nascent feature, returns Web pages either with information about the objects in the photo, or sites that contain similar images.
One goal of the research, as explained by Microsoft, is to augment the usual text inquiries with the details captured by photos. That combination makes for much more useful Internet search results, the firm said.
News of Photo2Search comes a few days after Google, which views Microsoft as a chief rival, learned it had received a patent for an alternative way to search the Internet using spoken words, rather than written text.