Alibaba introduces image matching service for clothes

The search service returns similar-looking clothing for sale on the group's e-commerce sites

Chinese shoppers can now upload photos of clothing to a new service launched this week from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group that finds matching styles sold online.

The Chinese name of the service is Tuxiang, but in English Alibaba is tentatively calling it "Imagine." The service is a way for users to buy the clothing they see in advertisements or in celebrity photos, said Alibaba spokeswoman Florence Shih.

"We were hoping to give customers another channel to look for products, especially if you have an idea of what you would like to find but don't know the keywords," she said.

The service is currently limited to apparel, shoes and bags. Once a picture is uploaded to the site, either from a computer or a web link to the image, users select the category of product they want to search for. The service then attempts to find the best product matches in the Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace, Alibaba's online e-commerce sites. The results appear as a breakdown of more than a dozen different products shown as images with price comparisons.

The new image service came after a third-party developer team won an Alibaba-sponsored competition in January 2010 to create applications. The team then worked in cooperation with Alibaba to develop the search service.

Although Alibaba is primarily known for its e-commerce activities, the company has been working to grab a share of China's search engine market. The domestic market is dominated by Baidu, which has a 75.8 percent share of the market, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Analysts have said many of the searches done on Baidu are to buy products, which is traffic that Alibaba would like to attract in order to drive to its own sites.

In October, Alibaba launched a beta version of its eTao shopping search engine. While the site is designed to help users search for products, they can also search for general web pages. In June, eTao was made its own separate company under Alibaba.

Alibaba plans to keep the Tuxiang service as its own separate site for now.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags internetsearch enginese-commerceAlibaba.com

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?