Compare Bing’s improved image search results vs. Google

Just think about your average day and how much time you spend searching for images online – and then imagine how great it would be if the results you received were the ones you actually wanted. Recently, Bing has made some major strides in giving you just that.

The Search Quality Insights Blog reports on some of its various techniques that zero in on what people are really looking for, which will hopefully save them time in finding what they want. And to make it more interesting, the blog post shows those techniques at work against Google results.

Some of the improvements outlined by Meenaz Merchant, senior program manager with Bing Research and Development, include: more hi-res images, less duplicates, and capturing the theme of the search and matching it to text and image features that have the same theme – providing a spectrum of relevant results.


Every day Bing receives millions of searches from across the Web, and nearly 10 percent of those searches are for images. With 40 percent of search results including some kind of visual component, we know that people are more likely to click on a Web page that includes images or videos.

Since Bing launched in 2009, the number of image searches has grown by 520 percent.

“By leveraging the big data generated from billions of searches and information contained within images alongside petabytes of signals from social networks and billions of clicks, we have designed massive machine learning systems that attempt to determine the intent of your image search,” Merchant writes. “With the focus on natural language and entity understanding, for instance, we have improved Bing’s ability to understand people’s intent beyond just queries and keywords.”

For instance, in the image search results above for “Stanford University” (yeah, it happens to be my alma mater), can you guess which one is from Bing and which one is from Google? Here’s a hint from Merchant: “We are able to cluster all the results in such a way that are easy to see at-a-glance, with the images with the main intent right on top.”

Find out if you’re right on that and read the rest of Bing’s developments in this area on the Search Quality Insights Blog.

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Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff