Google is the latest company to invest in technology that allows consumers to shop via image recognition, with the launch of its new feature, Style Match.
Released at a recent innovation summit as an expansion of its existing Google Lens technology, Style Match allows Android users to snap a picture of apparel and homewares and instantly find the specific item online. If the program can’t find an exact match, it will provide a list of similar products that are available for purchase.
Google introduced Lens in May 2017 for Android users that wanted to learn more about the world around them, by identifying buildings, landmarks, and even artwork. This new addition to Google Lens’ functionality seems like a natural extension of the app’s existing capabilities.
This tool is the latest in a long list of image recognition technology that makes shopping online easier than ever before.
ASOS also has a visual search tool that, incidentally, goes by the same name – Style Match. The British-based e-tailer first released this shopping feature to iOS users in August 2017, followed by a global release for Android users in March this year. Much like Google’s incarnation of Style Match, the retailer’s app feature allows users to upload a photo of clothing or accessories to the app to find items of clothing that are similar and available for purchase. As of March this year, there were reportedly 85,000 products available on the search engine, with thousands more being added each week.
In December last year, The ICONIC also released its own visual search feature, ‘Snap to Shop’. While the ICONIC wasn’t the first fashion label to release this sort of technology, it has been reported as the first fashion brand to make the technology available to Australian consumers.
The ICONIC wanted to take advantage of the popularity of social media influencers by allowing consumers to upload a photo from Instagram or Facebook and instantly find similar outfits. Much like the technology being utilised by Google and ASOS, users could also take a photo of someone in passing and find a similar outfit to purchase.
THE ICONIC’s Chief Technology Officer, Zoe Ghani, believes the shopping feature is just one of the ways the online brand is making shopping online easier for consumers.
“As a retailer who strives to be at the forefront when creating seamless shopping experiences, Snap to Shop means that Australian customers will be able to discover and receive their favourite products faster than ever. Visual search is just the beginning of what we’re working on at THE ICONIC to ensure our customers have the latest shopping tech at their fingertips.”
While Google isn’t the first company to release a visual shopping tool, it is believed to be the first of its kind to release technology that searches through thousands of similar products across its entire search engine, instead of just one product database from an individual retailer. This could help level the playing field for brand’s that don’t have the resources to or are yet to release their own online shopping tools.
Google’s Style Match is expected to roll out in the coming weeks and will take any image from a users camera roll and search through millions of products – looking at everything from texture and colour – to find a suitable match.