It is quite common, in the social circles of the technorati, to observe individuals madly accumulating piles of random household goods while rapidly snapping away with mobile devices in order to demonstrate the quality of applications like Google's goggles, or Bing's iBing. These applications, among other things, provide image based search. That is to say, using images as input to search.
On one such occasion, I and a friend were testing Google and Bing's abilities with a certain CD cover: Martino Tirimo's recording of Debussy's Suite Bergamasque. The CD cover features Basile Lemeunier's "Shopping in Paris" and is pictured to the left.
Imagine our surprise when using this CD cover in image based search brought (I'm sure you've guessed it) the book "April Lady" by Georgette Heyer, pictured below.
Of course, the confusion was caused by the assumption of unique artwork used on covers. The Google application faired better of the two as it has access to a larger database of possible matches. This database covers not just products (that can be keyed off cover art), but also art works (possibly via online poster retailers). Bing, on the other hand, was only aware of the book. The features used to key the products are, firstly, overwhelmed by the nature of the artwork and, secondly, not intended to distinguish between types of objects. They don't 'see' a CD cover or a book or a poster.
This seemed like an interesting issue, and I bookmarked it for this blog post. However, in getting the facts straight for writing this, I had to recover the original art work. I had the picture of the CD cover and vaguely remembered the name of the art poster that Google picked up (which I thought to be "Shopping in April"). However, I couldn't for the life of me encourage the definitive information of the name of the picture or the author out of either Bing or Google.
Searching on Google for "shopping in paris" brings up various lurid images of Parisian consumerism and a certain American socialite. Adding in the terms "fine art" didn't help at all. It was only when I came up with the idea of searching for art poster online stores that I managed to home in on the original picture, and the artist: Basile Lemeunier (France, 1852-1922).