Today Google, which partnered with former members of Like.com, a visual-search company it bought last summer, launched Boutiques.com which the search engine giant says is going to revolutionize the way shoppers find, research and even buy apparel and accessories online. In short, the site’s visual search is a search-engine method that uses images to determine what a user is looking for, rather than relying solely on text typed into a search box, as Google.com does.
Collatorations with ‘Taste Makers’
“The web works well for buying cameras and other hard goods but for soft goods, such as clothing and accessories, it’s not the same as shopping in a store,” Google stated today in a web blog. “So, we set out to create a new way to browse, discover and shop for soft goods online…It’s called Boutiques.com: a personalized shopping experience that lets you find and discover fashion goods, by creating your own curated boutique or through a collection of boutiques curated by taste-makers—celebrities, stylists, designers and fashion bloggers. Boutiques uses computer vision and machine learning technology to visually analyze your taste and match it to items you would like.”
Developers say the site’s model depends upon collaboration. “In fashion, there are lots of choices. If there are, say, 500,000 items in a store, that means there are literally billions of different combinations of outfits you can make with those items. How do you sort through all of this?”
The answer, their “taste-maker” collaborators curated items they love (or hated) which are then sorted into categories such as “classic,” “Boho,” “edgy,” etc. Then Boutiques.com’s “machine learning algorithms use this information to enable you to shop the entire inventory in the style of that taste-maker, on top of the 50 items they’ve hand-curated.” Contributors created their own boutiques that can be shopped and users can create their own personalize boutiques and receive recommendations that “match your taste.”
Other search and discover merchandise features include:
●Advanced search filters–Filter by genre, silhouette, pattern, color families and sizes.
●Inspiration photos–Search for a fashion item and the user will receive matching outfit ideas to the right of the search results. Inspirational images include street style sites, collage and styling sites that provide the online equivalent of styled mannequins.
●Complete the Look–Ever wonder what to pair with that dress? Boutiques.com’s fashion designers wrote hundreds of style rules—like “heavily patterned handbags don’t tend to go with heavily patterned dresses”—that were used to develop a tool to suggest items that match.
●Visual search—A function that analyzes the photograph of an item for its color, shape and pattern and then tries to help find visually similar items.
●Boutiques on your tablet–Download the iPad application, move through merchandise as if “you were flipping through clothes on a rack at the store.”
Boutiques.com is only available in the United States only for women’s fashion, but Google plans to expand into other classificiations.