Photobucket: Silverlight Powered Visual Search Feature, Windows Live Messenger Integration
Article by George Norman
On 18 Jun 2009
Good news for the 70 million people that use the image hosting, slideshow creation and photo sharing Photobucket web page that was launched back in 2003: Photobucket comes with a new Visual Search feature that while being powered by Microsoft’s Flash killer (that would be Silverlight) is capable of providing the user with quick access to the photos they are looking for. Keeping in mind that Photobucket currently hosts more than 8 billion photos and keeping in mind that the number of photos on the site is constantly growing, an effective means of sifting through those images was a long time coming.

Senior Vice President of Technology an Partnerships, Michael Clark, comments: “We’re interested in bubbling up good content. Our users conduct more than 40 million searches a day. We think the browsing of photos is real entertainment, and this is another way to help our users be entertained by what they find.”


The Visual Search feature in Photobucket was developed in collaboration with Effective UI, a Denver-based user experience agency, and Microsoft, the Redmond-based software giant that we are all very much familiar with. The goal for the trio was to integrate the very rich user interface of Photobucket with Windows Live Messenger and then wrap it all up in “a fluid Silverlight application.” What they ended up with is an unique new service that gets rid of the wide-open white spaces, words, file names and the rest of the clutter; an unique service that lets you instantly share photos via Windows Live Messenger, lets you access a photographer’s gallery with just one click and lets you seamlessly search for images that are similar to the one you are just now looking at.

Will Tschumy, a member of Microsoft’s User Experience Evangelist Group who worked closely with Photobucket on this project share his opinion on the Visual Search feature: “After five seconds in it, it feels different. It removes a lot of the text and reloading time that users have had to wade through. Presenting results as images and then using a given image as the next query to find another set of images is really just a different way of interacting with the content.”

And once you find the image you’ve been looking for, you can easily share it via Windows Live Messenger. Now isn’t that nice, considering that Windows Live Messenger will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary .

UPDATE: Here is a screenshot presentation of Photobucket with Silverlight-powered search and Windows Live Messenger integration.

Tags: Photobucket, Visual Search, Microsoft, Silverlight, Windows Live Messenger
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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