In July, eBay announced two new upcoming features — Image Search and Find It On eBay — both of which are aimed at allowing shoppers to use pictures instead of words to search for items through the mobile app. The Image Search feature is now available for both Android and iOS, while the Find It On eBay feature has rolled out on just Android.
Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, you’ll now be able to find any item you’re searching for using only visuals and the search bar. This is especially handy if you spot a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture that you’re interested in, but are unable to search for it by name. The new features on eBay’s mobile app will apparently be able to guide you to similar items, if not the exact match.
If your phone is filled with photos of desired items you’ve seen in person or screenshots from scrolling through social media, they won’t just have to sit in your camera anymore. With the Image Search feature, you can either take a photo or pull up an existing screenshot from your album and enter it into the search bar right on the app. Your results will consist of the closest matches to the item, which you will then be able to purchase.
With the second feature, Find It On eBay, users can shop on any social platform, including Pinterest or Instagram. When you see an item you’re interested in, you’ll have the option to “Find it now” on your smartphone via the eBay icon. Once you “share” the image with eBay, you can crop the photo to highlight the exact item you’re looking for, and the mobile app will pull up search results.
The eBay mobile app uses two parts of artificial intelligence — known as computer vision and deep learning — to easily find the items you’re looking for. Once you upload the image, it goes through a deep learning model — known as a convolutional neural network — that processes the image and produces a representation of it to compare to live listings on eBay. The items are then ranked based on visual similarity, and surface as your options to choose from — which eBay hopes will lead to your purchase of the item through its site.
Update: Image Search and Find It On eBay have officially rolled out.
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