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Ilse Jurri├źn : February 7th 2006 - 22:55 CET

Image Search Technology

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Ask JeevesImage Search Technology : Ask Jeeves today announced the launch of its first proprietary image search technology. The new technology debuts Ask Jeeves' first internally-created index of Web images, further improvements to its image search ranking algorithms and new Zoom related search suggestions specifically for image searching. Collectively, these improvements deliver a superior image search experience, helping people find the pictures they are looking for faster. "Image search is the second-leading type of search on Ask Jeeves after Web search. The improvements we are introducing today move the needle for searchers where they really need it," said Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search properties at Ask Jeeves.
Image Search TechnologyMyJeeves personal search service
Image Search accounts for 16% of all searches on Ask Jeeves. With the new image technology, Ask Jeeves is also expanding Image Smart Answers, which appear at the top of the search results page for queries such as "pictures of Mount St. Helens" from the main Web channel. All picture results can be saved to users' MyJeeves by clicking the 'save' link under each image. MyJeeves is a personal search service where links to web pages, images and selected Smart Answers can be stored, organized, annotated, searched and shared.

Image search - Technical challenge
"Image search is an important technical challenge to solve for our users," said Apostolos Gerasoulis, executive vice president of search technology for Ask Jeeves. "We find that, as we concentrate our efforts on providing first-class relevance and tools for image searching, the usage of the Pictures channel on the web site of Ask steadily continues to grow."

Ask Jeeves Image Search
Ask Jeeves' new Image Search includes improved ranking algorithms, patent-pending image recognition technologies and, for the first time, a proprietary image index. "Our new image search combines Ask Jeeves' unique text ranking and clustering algorithms with sophisticated image recognition technologies and our new image index," continued Gerasoulis. "Our goal is to give users the best technology and tools to get the most out of the Image Web."

Unique algorithmic search ranking & Image recognition technologies
The image search technology utilizes Ask Jeeves' unique algorithmic search ranking, which clusters the Web into topic areas and determines the authoritativeness of pages and images among their topic community. This approach requires additional computations beyond that of other ranking methodologies that simply evaluate the popularity of pages and images on the Web at large. Ask Jeeves combines this methodology with new sophisticated image recognition technologies to further increase relevance. These patent-pending recognition technologies measure a wide variety of image attributes, such as image type, shape, brightness and contrast level to determine picture quality. The combination returns extremely relevant, high quality images for unparalleled visual relevance.

Image Search channel - Zoom Related Search
Zoom related search is a proprietary concept that gives users suggestions on how to narrow or expand their search. This concept, introduced for the Web Search channel in May of 2005, has now been expanded and tailored for the Image Search channel. As with Zoom for Web search, the product is derived from the Ask Jeeves' search engine, which uniquely clusters the Web by topic as part of its relevance methodology. These topics are visually represented on the right side of the results page under the categories: Related Names, Expand Your Search, and Narrow Your Search. The Zoom suggestions proposed within the Picture Search channel on the web site of Ask will often differ from those in the Web Search channel, due to different methods used to calculate relevance and clusters on the Image Web.

Pictures Search channel - Zooming in & out
For example, with the query "Bondi Beach" on the Pictures channel, zooming in with Narrow Your Search returns "Map of Bondi Beach" and "Bondi Junction." Alternatively, by zooming out with Expand Your Search, suggestions include "Australian Beaches," "Byron Bay," "Taronga Zoo" and "Places to Visit in Australia" to help users clarify what they are looking for. Additionally, Related Names is able to isolate "Ayers Rock" and "Sydney Tower" as relevant suggestions. "The Ask Jeeves Image Search with Zoom related search is an entirely new way to navigate and explore the Image Web," said Gerasoulis.

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