New Visual Search and Shopping Engine, is an interesting new twist on shopping research and discovery. It lets you do an image search by image as well as by text. That means you can upload photos or use a (soon-to-come) tool bar to use photos on the Web as search queries.

It’s focusing on clothing and accessories, mostly for women. It returns pretty good results, though on text searches, it’s better to start specific than general. For example, a query for “mens black ankle boots” yielded everything from cowboy boots to Harley boots with lots of buckles to sleek Prada boots. No surprise there. However, when I used the tool that lets you define a certain feature (in this case, I seroed in on the toe of the Prada boot) on a particular product and filter using that feature (and/or a new color), I still had way too many different styles. Still, it’s new and a fun tool for discovery. You can, of course, purchase online the items you find.

Company head Munjal Shah’s post on the launch is here and other coverage is here and here.

This is the new effort from Riya, which is switching gears from people-centered image search to product-centered (because people are a lot more complex and diverse than things and thus harder to return accurate results for).


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