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eBay experiments with a visual search engine

By Marc Schenker Posted Oct. 20, 2016 Reading time: 1 minute

eBay, the giant auction site, has just launched a new site specifically for people looking for furniture and other complementary products and items for the home. eBay Collective, to be sure, is a site that’s aimed more at the high-end crowd, as it features items like antiques, fine art, contemporary design, and other unique items. However, what makes it stand out is its visual search engine that puts a new twist on searching on the web.

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The visual search engine is Corrigon, which eBay purchased earlier this year for just under $30 million. Though Corrigon has been around for almost a decade — since 2006, to be exact — it’s only now on eBay Collective that this visual search engine is really being allowed to showcase what it can do. Corrigon works in a unique fashion to help shoppers get a good user experience when they’re looking for the right items with which to decorate their homes.

Corrigon is used in a “Shop the Room” feature on eBay’s new site. This feature allows you to hover over an image of a fully designed area of a home. Then, the search engine will search throughout eBay’s inventory to find items that are similar to the section of the image shoppers indicate.

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Corrigon’s search technology was developed to help users both find and then identify an object within a bigger image. Then, users are able to match that discovery with additional images or links to items. Within a larger image, users on eBay Collective can now hover over a particular section of the image while Corrigon can see the item in that section. It then matches it with other items.

Overall, the design of the new site is very image-rich, which makes sense since products need to be showcased to shoppers trying to make buying decisions online. This new site is eBay’s newest try at better serving its user base of active shoppers, which totals 164 million. Curating the site in this unique way with the new visual search engine is aimed at providing a much better UX to all shoppers.

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