Yesterday, Google unveiled its new Google Similar Images search feature under Google Labs. The product is nice, and works very well. But, Microsoft was doing the same thing with Live Search — over 4 months ago.
A lot of commenters pointed it out to us yesterday, and naturally, Microsoft reached out today to let us know the same thing with what might as well have been a big, loud “FIRST!” But it’s true, Microsoft rolled out the feature on December 1 of last year. So how does it stack up?
I ran the same test I did yesterday with Google Similar Images, a query for “Apple.” Perhaps that’s a bit unfair to Microsoft since that is a chief rival, but the results were solid. The silver Apple logo similar image search returned silver apples across the board.
The colorful Apple similar image search was a little more uneven than Google’s results, but that’s just being kind of picky.
The apple fruit similar image search worked well, just as Google’s did.
I took the test of Microsoft’s tool a bit farther and did a search for “Daniel Day-Lewis,” my favorite actor. I wanted to find a picture of him as Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York in particular. I found one, hit the similar images link, and aside from one odd picture of Penelope Cruz (which I can certainly forgive) and a few of Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (where he has a similar look), got some good results.
So yes, Microsoft, which gets a lot of flack for borrowing features from rivals, appears to have had one of its own borrowed by Google here. Of course others in the search space, such as like.com, have been doing this for a while. “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and all that,” quipped a Microsoft spokesperson. Indeed.