eBay announces computer vision, finds objects through photos

Computer vision technology allows machines to "understand" images, so they can find objects through photos

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are permeating almost every aspect of the online world and it is not surprising to find that eBay is also using it. The e-commerce giant has in fact announced two new computer vision features coming in next autumn.

Computer vision technology allows machines to "understand" images by processing them and analyzing them pixel-by-pixel, rather than letting them rely on categorization data generated by man, such as keywords and descriptions. Using the image search function, eBay stated that it could start with a photo of a real object and could use the image to find similar items within its market.

The company is also about to launch the functionality Find on eBay that will allow you to click on items on any website – in a blog or on Pinterest, for example – and find similar items to buy via eBay. The eBay platform will also allow you to enlarge specific items within a photo – to example a pair of shoes – and look for just those.


Needless to say, the results will not always be precise, but eBay will add an interesting dimension to the function of its own research with which it is not always immediate or easy to find what you are looking for, using only descriptive keywords.

"The inspiration to make a purchase can come at any time, whether you are walking down the street or consulting the social media feed," said Mohan Patt, vice president of buyer experience at eBay. "We at eBay are focused on creating a new complementary technology that helps our millions of customers easily find the things they love and do it at the best price ”.

Image search will initially be available through the eBay application on Android and iOS, although the eBay search will be limited to Android at launch. These new features follow a series of initiatives that eBay has undertaken to expand its AI capabilities; in this regard, his own – last May – he bought the machine lerning company ExpertMaker and a few months later took command of the computer vision company Corrigon.

The computer vision turned out to be a key point for companies around the world.Last year, Shutterstock presented a new reverse image search tool that allows anyone to search for images based on patterns or color shapes. rather than using text-based descriptions.

Pinterest has officially launched new features for visual search. Lens, which allows users to take a photo via camera and find related themes and pins, and Instant Ideas, thus expanding its capabilities even by searching for recipes based on images.

As for eBay, the company said that many of the AI ​​and ML technologies that feed the new image search features are "already incorporated into the eBay experience" and that they have been designed to facilitate consultation of a catalog that boasts of more than a billion items for sale.

For example, eBay has already been offering similar items at the bottom of every page of a product for a long time, showing goods that could be interesting based on the most frequent (or last) tastes and searches of a buyer.

By combining your consumer data sets with the AI ​​and eBay learning machine you could start to stand up to competitors like Amazon. LAI is no longer a choice, but an indispensable measure if you want to be part of the giants that thrive thanks to online commerce.

ebay visual search