A new computer vision feature is presently rolling out to the eBay Android app in the United States, the popular e-commerce platform announced on Thursday. Simply called Image Search, the functionality provides users with the ability to survey eBay for products that they either aren't sure how to describe or don't know their exact model, in addition to being a potentially more efficient method of searching for specific listings. The e-commerce platform has been developing its Image Search engine for some time now, having originally announced it in late July, with the company now confirming that a client-side update containing the new feature is being distributed to users but without providing a more precise global availability window for its latest creation.
The new version of the Android app also ships with a Find It On eBay feature, a related functionality that allows you to quickly upload any photo to Image Search even when you're using another app. The integration was accomplished through the system Share menu of Android that will now contain the option to share an image with eBay which will instantly prompt an image-based query powered by the platform's new computer vision engine. The framework relies on a convolutional neural network, a deep learning model specifically designed for analyzing imagery which mimics some workings of a human brain and doesn't involve heavy pre-processing, being able to learn how to classify images without much pre-programmed knowledge. This software structure also allows Image Search to become better at identifying photographs over time as users continue sending it queries and feedback, with eBay hoping the artificial intelligence service will continue growing and improving without many subsequent inputs from its development team.
Image Search ranks images in its results based on how similar they are to the file you originally uploaded to the service and is able to isolate and identify specific objects even when they aren't the main subjects of an image, with this capability encompassing everything from shoes and glasses to speakers, TVs, and furniture. The ranking algorithms themselves are powered by Kubernetes, an established open-source framework for deployment automation, eBay said. After you've downloaded the latest stable build of eBay for Android, you're able to start using Image Search by tapping the Camera icon found on the main interface or accessing the system Share menu to send any photograph directly to the mobile app.