The race to build better search: a Reuters article

I spent a couple of hours with Alistair Barr from Reuters discussing search at eBay, and our Project Cassini rewrite of eBay’s search platform. Alistair published the story yesterday, and it’s a good, short read. Thanks Alastair for sharing the story with your readers.

Alistair discusses Walmart’s search rewrite (which didn’t take too long by the sounds of it — my recent blog post suggests why), quotes responses from Google’s PR team, and shares insights from my good friend Oren Etzioni who works at both the University of Washington and the rather awesome shopping decision engine, decide.com. He mentions Google’s features that obviously do a little light image processing to match color and shape intents in queries such as “red dress” or “v-neck dress” against the content in the images.

Google does do lots of things well, but they’re often not the first to do them — we built that color search into Bing’s image search in 2008 (try this “red dress” query). On a related note, eBay has a rather cool image search feature, which we really should make more prominent in our search experience (mental note: must work on that). Try this “red dress” query, and you’ll see results that use visual image features to find related items.

I’ll be back with part #3 of my Ranking at eBay series soon.

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