Last month I went up to Seattle to spend a day with Getty Images and learn more about what they are doing in the field of stock photography. As part of our visit with Getty we were shown some of Getty’s new Image Search technology early but I’ve been under an embargo and unable to talk about it until now.
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I’m very interested in the field of image search. Watching the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask) build out their various image search technology I’ve been convinced that there has got to be a better way to bring quality relevant images to those who want to view them. This is also part of what we are working on at Zooomr.
The problem with image search at the major engines today is that their programs are entirely computer algorithm based and getting at what is inside of an image is not always easy.
Flickr, who is owned by Yahoo! of course, has in my opinion the best image search technology out there today. Flickr has been able to harvest the power of a social network to sort their photos and come up with beautiful images on demand of almost any subject, person, place, thing, etc.
But while Flickr’s images are great, they still miss many of the images being turned out by the Pros these days. They miss a lot of the high profile celebrity type images (you have no idea how popular these are) and also because Flickr does not use human editors to sort through their search results, many search results are still full of the wrong kinds of images.
So I was very interested in seeing what Getty was up to with image search when I visited them. Getty’s market for image search is a different one than the major search engines or Flickr. Getty is primarily trying to sell images to news outlets and marketers. Their primary clients on the editorial side are major news publications, magazines, TV shows, etc. On the creative side they sell to advertisers, manufacturers, and marketers of all types.
According to Getty CEO Jonathan Klein Getty gets over a million search requests a day for images. “Our customers run more than a million searches for imagery every day on http://www.gettyimages.com, which we see as more than a million opportunities to learn from their experiences,” said Klein. “Incorporating this learning from our customers has allowed us to continue our leading role in defining and shaping how imagery can be delivered to customers.
So what Getty has created is something that works for both the image buyer as well as, in my opinion, the image consumer. Their new image search engine is available at beta.gettyimages.com Getty’s new search engine makes it easier than ever to sort through Getty’s very large professionally organized library of images. As a marketer or news publication this makes it very easy to find the images that you are looking for quickly. Especially in the news breaking world of editorial photography quickly finding the right image is very important. Breaking news, breaking images.
And the images are of super high quality. As a consumer you may also be interested in these images. The negative from a consumer perspective of course is that all of the images are watermarked. But you can still see very high quality photographs of images that you are interested in.
Are you interested in the San Francisco 49ers? Are you an Angelina Jolie fan? Want to see some interesting shots of the Killers? Then check out the beta.gettyimages.com website and enter in these terms or whatever other terms you’d be interested in checking out. You might be surprised at what pops up.
While we were up in Seattle a lot questions were asked about if Getty would be creating a consumer product. Robert Scoble suggested that screen savers of some of their images for instance would be beautiful and could be powerful marketing tools. While I don’t think Getty is ready to do this just yet, consumers can still do searches and see some of the best of what Getty has to offer with this new search engine.
The new search engine is localized in German, Spanish and English.