Microsoft today announces Visual Search in Bing. For a limited number of searches, particularly those related to shopping, movies and such, the search engine lets you visually search and filter through search results.
Searching for cameras, dogs or hand bags for example will let you visually skim through products on a 3D grin with icons or photos. You can then begin to narrow down the search results by color, price and so on, eventually leaving the subset of that particular product for you to select from.
There have been a number of examples of initially cool but slow to generate long term interest visual search applications (Viewzi, Like.com). By focusing on products and searches that can benefit from visual representation, Microsoft might just see some traction.
Disappointingly Microsoft decided to use Silverlight as the only way to access the visual search feature, so you’ll need to install the plugin before testing the feature. Check Microsoft Visual Search out here.