Community Blog Identify and Analyze Images in Real-Time Using Alibaba Cloud Image Search

Identify and Analyze Images in Real-Time Using Alibaba Cloud Image Search

This article explains how to identify and analyze images in real-time using Alibaba Cloud image search.

By Alain Francois

When hosting a business' website, it is important to ensure that customers have a pleasant user experience. Finding products through image search is an interesting way to navigate items selling on your platform. As a result, Alibaba Cloud developed a service called Image Search. It ensures the best user experience by allowing customers to find the product they intend to purchase through images.

What Is Alibaba Cloud Image Search?

Alibaba Cloud Image Search is an intelligent image search service that helps users find identical or similar images based on machine learning and deep learning. The service enables end-users to take a screenshot or upload an image to search and find desired products and fulfill other search requests. It allows you to extract image characteristics and build an image search engine for image searches. Image Search applies to a wide range of scenarios, such as snap shopping, product recommendations based on similar images, and copyright protection. The criticality and role of image search are more significant for e-commerce businesses.

Image Search Types

There are various types of Image Search technologies:

  • Image Search: A search engine executes an image search engine, takes a text-based query, and tries to find the accurate visual match
  • Reverse Image Search: It provides the CBIR system with a sample image upon which it will base its search.
  • Visual Search: This form of image search technology involves an agile scan of the visual environment for a particular object.

Image Search Features

  • Product image search searches for images in a product image gallery and allows you to find products identical or similar to the product in your input image. You can also obtain information about the products.
  • Generic image search searches for images in a large image gallery and allows you to find images identical or similar to your input image. The images contain the subjects or elements identical or similar to those in your input image.

Image Search Benefits

This service provides some benefits:

  • High accuracy offers industry-leading and high-accuracy search services based on large amounts of training data and constant improvements.
  • Fast response ensures responses to queries in only a few milliseconds based on ultra-large-scale clustering and quantization-based indexing.
  • Large amounts of data scan tens of billions of images for each search based on the large-scale search engine.
  • API operations allow you to call API operations to add or delete images in real-time.
  • High flexibility allows you to set a combination of search criteria to meet various business requirements. This offers high efficiency and high flexibility.
  • High data security uses asymmetric encryption to protect data stored on the cloud. You can implement access control based on user permissions.
  • Customization customizes the features based on your business requirements.

Running Alibaba Cloud Image Search

You need an Alibaba Cloud account. If don't have one yet, you can create one. (Get a coupon during the March Mega Sale!)

Log in to your account, go to the Visual Intelligence service, and choose Image Search:

You can see the overview page of the service:

Create an image search instance. Go to Create instance. (The service offers a one-month free trial if you need it):

Choose the service (Product or Generic image) you want to use and indicate the name of the instance. In our case, we will create a product image instance. The Queries/sec (QPS) is the maximum number of requests Image Search can process every second. The Capacity is the maximum number of images among which you can run searches. The instance name can't be changed and must meet the following requirements:

  • Must contain lowercase letters and digits
  • Must start with a letter
  • Must be 4 to 20 characters in length

You will be asked to confirm the order.

Go back to the console. If you have changed the default region while buying the service, change it there to see the search instance you just created:

Go to the product search instance to see your instance. Click on the instance name:

Add an image to your instance and dill in the necessary information:

Repeat the process to add more images:

You can try the image search after adding some images. There are some results on the right panel:



The use of image search can help to enhance your business and brand image. You can enhance the experience of searching products online and improve the purchasing experience of your customers.

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