Google “similar images” search is now out of beta (Cnet article), and it looks very promising at first try. The problem with the traditional image search is that it relies on keywords to be found either in image filename or in the text surrounding the image on the web page. With the new feature, a real image similarity comparison is done and can therefore bring back many images that was previously hard or impossible to find.
After doing a normal image search, many of the results will let you click “find similar” (see illustration), bringing similar images. I tried it with the pyramids in Egypt which worked well. Searching for “laptop” brings up many different brands, and clicking similar on a MacBook really brings up other macbooks, on a Dell brings up other Dells (mostly) and on a Vaio brings up other Vaio’s.
I remember that FAST had similar capabilities even 5 years ago, which was piloted in a few showcases and select customer installations. For instance it was utilized for various Police departments to reveal child pornography on the internet. Now Google brings the same kind of technology to the masses, making search one step easier for all of us. Bravo!