Microsoft has announced a new visual search feature for its Bing app that lets users snap a picture with their phone's camera and use it to search the web.
The new visual search function builds on the AI-powered intelligent search capabilities already used by Bing, and works pretty much like Google Lens: Users take a photo of something or upload one from their camera roll, and then the search engine identifies the object in question and offers additional information by providing links to explore.
The feature appears as an icon in the Bing app's search bar, and can be used to search for everything from landmarks to breeds of dog, but Microsoft is pushing it as a way to shop from photos for clothes and home furniture:
Let's say you see a friend's jacket you like, but don't know its brand or where to purchase. Upload a pic into the app's search box and Bing will return visually-similar jackets, prices, and details for where to purchase.
Visual Search is available today in the U.S. via the Bing app [Direct Link]. Microsoft says the feature will also roll out soon for Microsoft Edge on iOS as well as Bing.com, which remains a search engine option in Apple's latest version of Safari browser.
Starting today, Apple search results from Siri and Spotlight on Mac and iOS will be provided by Google rather than Microsoft's Bing. Apple announced the news in a statement that was given to TechCrunch this morning, claiming consistency across iOS and Mac devices is the reason behind the switch.
"Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari," reads an Apple statement sent this morning. "We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible."
Prior to this morning, all results from a search conducted on Spotlight using Finder on Mac or the swipe down search bar on iOS were Bing search results, as was all search information provided by Siri. Now, when you search using Spotlight or when you ask Siri a question that ends up involving a web search, info will come from Google.
According to TechCrunch, the swap will include both web links and video results from YouTube, but web image results in Siri and Spotlight searches will continue to be provided by Bing for the time being. Google searches will use the standard search API and will provide the same search results you'd get from a Google.com search.
While Apple has used Bing for search results for things like Siri and Spotlight, Google has remained the default search engine on iOS and Mac devices. Earlier this year, reports suggested Google paid Apple nearly $3 billion to maintain its position as the default search engine on iOS devices.
The search engine swap began rolling out to users at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.