After finishing the image classification API, I wondered if I could go further. How about building a reverse image search engine? You can try it out here: Image Search API
Update: API discontinued to save on cloud cost.
In simple terms, given an image, reverse image search finds other similar images—this would be helpful in searching for similar looking products.
“My son has this plushie he really likes, but I don’t know what the name is… How can I find similar plushies?”
Simply browse and upload an image, select a category (optional, defaults to all categories), and search for similar products. Similar to image classification, this works best with product images with a white background, as that’s what the catalog images look like.
The results are not bad huh? I was surprised how powerful it was. (I found out that it’s called a Domo through this search).
Reverse image search is useful for finding products based on visual features (i.e., style, shape, colour). Have a certain sofa style you like? Or a pair of shoes? Or a jacket? Search for it via reverse image search.
(Note: You may find that it sometimes returns no/terrible results. Given the catalog only has ~200k products, there are instances where there are no results, or the results returned are the best (though terrible), given the catalog images)
For products where “how-it-looks” is the key search criteria, reverse image search provides great user experience, making it easy for users to quickly find what they want. If searching for products based on features not reflected in images (e.g., memory size, battery life, etc), regular search would work better.
Previously, datagene.io was running on Flask’s development server. While it worked well and didn’t fail, I wanted to improve on it by using uWSGI + nginx. From the front-end, you probably won’t notice any difference. The key difference is that it runs on multiple processes now—more than one user can be served simultaneously (not that it happens anyway haha).
P.S. I’ve just started my first course in the Georgia Tech OMS CS—Computer Vision. It’s been a blast so far and I really enjoy learning about the fundamentals of working with images. Unfortunately, it also means that I may not have time to add new features to datagene.io and write as often.
Questions? Want to follow my journey? Reach out on Twitter @eugeneyan!
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