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In the battle for consumer attention, speed and ease are key. Users are increasingly overwhelmed by the amount of content and products they have access to. Relevant search and discovery can help them sift through the noise. Increasingly, users want to be able to search for products using images, not just words.

Searching with images is convenient when it’s hard to find the words to describe what you’re looking for, or when it’s too time consuming to search and filter for what you had in mind. Uploading an image as a search query lets your users find information or buy a product quickly.

It’s becoming more common for search and discovery experiences to include this capability, especially on ecommerce apps and sites. Some businesses promote this capability even in brick-and-mortar stores. Users can snap pictures of items in the store and use the images to find more information in the catalog.

Users delight in—and are beginning to expect—the omni-channel experience searching by image can help build. Search by image is something you can incorporate into your existing Algolia implementation.

Though searching by image may be your end goal, the first step is to enrich your Algolia data based on the images you already have. In other words, you need to add textual classifications to your records, based on your images.

You can do this by retrieving classifications from AI-powered image recognition platforms and indexing them to your Algolia records. Then, at query time, when a user searches using an image, those same classifications can help retrieve the right record.

For example, if you run a fashion ecommerce site, you can automatically extract features like type of neckline, sleeve length, colors, and patterns from your product images.

Image classification can enrich your data and allow users to search by images

Without first enriching your Algolia records, when a user provides an image as a search query, it won’t be able to match relevant records with the same or similar image. Even if you don’t plan on implementing search by image, image classification and tagging can offer a more relevant and discovery experience in and of itself.

Image classification and tagging

Learn how to use use third-party AI platforms to enrich your data through image classification, also known as image tagging or labeling.

Search by image

Learn how to provide your users search by image—the ability to use images as search queries.

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