eBay’s Innovative Image Search Technology
During Labor Day Weekend of 1995, a coder was sitting in the living room of his dimly lit home and did what coders do. He was writing code for hours and eventually launched “AuctionWeb” – a site that brought buyers and sellers together in a single marketplace.
Shortly after AuctionWeb was up and running, the coder listed his very first product, a broken laser pointer, which quickly sold to a buyer, thousands of miles away in Canada.
Today, the same coder, Pierre Omidyar, is worth $9.4 billion. And, while he no longer runs the company, the website – now called <a href=”https://www.16best.net/ebay/“>eBay</a> – is the 9th largest internet company in the world.
There are a couple of lessons that can be gleaned from this story:
The first one is that coding can pay off big time, and the second one is that you shouldn’t purchase a laser pointer on a site that was put together over a weekend.
Anyway, one thing is certain: at 23 years old, the pioneer in ecommerce still has a few tricks up its sleeve — tricks that could potentially change the ecommerce world it created. Below, you will find two of the latest technologies that eBay has introduced on its platform — ’Image Search’ and ‘Find It’ — tools that may change the way buyers search the web for products.
As you probably already realize, artificial intelligence and machine learning are spreading like wildfire. Before we know it, our toilets, toasters, and thermostats will have minds of their own. Both artificial intelligence and machine learning are giving the world tools to do some pretty amazing things. And, as the reigning leader of ecommerce, eBay is leading the charge with two tools it recently launched: ‘Image Search’ and ‘Find It’.
Have you ever gone shopping and stumbled upon a piece of furniture you really liked? One that looked like a couch, or a la-z-boy? Or was it an audubon? Well, if you weren’t interested in paying the crazy price you found in a physical store, you probably decided to look online.
But, here is the problem. If you try googling: “Couch/ lay-z-boy recliner/ audubon furniture piece”, the chances of finding what you are looking for are about as good as a snowball’s chances in a microwave.
eBay is harnessing the power of AI to help customers more easily search for the products they can’t describe but really want. How would an ecommerce titan go about accomplishing this? A lot of manpower, capital, artificial intelligence and smartphone cameras would be required.
eBay’s Image Search uses a deep learning model. The model’s output creates a representation of the shopper’s image that can be compared to images of live listings. That means that the listing images have to have the same type of representation or a set of attributes that the AI can match the search image against, similar to metadata. It seems you have to feed all your images to the AI so it can study them, make notes, and create a library of reference points. It’s a game changer so you better keep up.
eBay will also be launching ‘Find It’, which will allow customers to click items on any website or social media and then search for them via URL on eBay. ‘Find It’ will also allow online shoppers to zoom in on things they like within a larger image and search for that particular item on eBay.
So, imagine you are looking at a picture of a living room on Pinterest, and you notice a window curtain you really like. With Find It, you will be able to zoom in on that curtain and search eBay for similar products for sale. eBay has discovered a way to successfully bridge the gap between physical and digital world through pictures — allowing them to target customers both online and in person.
If customers embrace these tools, we will see a complete 180 degrees turn in the way in which they go about making purchases. This will have a tremendous impact on physical and digital retailers, forcing them to either offer products that can’t be found online or with better prices. Either way, it will benefit the customer.