01/18/2011

iStockphoto Europe GmbH

iStockphoto Announces Sweeping Changes to its Industry-Leading Search Technology Providing Superior Results in a Fraction of the Time

CALGARY, Alberta. — As part of its comprehensive website overhaul, iStockphoto announced a host of major search enhancements that make finding the perfect image, video or audio file easier than ever. New functionality includes locally relevant search results and the ability to more precisely navigate iStock’s library of more than seven million files.

The most noticeable change, which has already been implemented, is the wide array of faceted search tools available directly on the search results page. These advanced tools give customers the ability to start a query using a broad term then dynamically tailor and narrow the search while viewing the new results in real-time. Behind the scenes, a proprietary new algorithm will take into account the language and location of the user and prioritizes their results accordingly. This feature will be implemented in mid-January.

“For the past several years there has been a lot of competition between leading stock providers over which one has the largest collection of files. We’ve chosen to ignore this fight and focus instead on what matters most – the best collection with the most relevant search results,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “Unless you can help customers find the needle, there’s no point in giving them a bigger haystack.”

Locally Relevant Search

iStockphoto serves a diverse international customer base of more than seven million people who purchase tens of thousands of files on any given day. While it is impossible to anticipate exactly what any of those customers might be looking for, there is one thing that can be reliably used to help narrow a search from the very beginning – location.

With localized search, users in one part of the world who do a search for “money,” will get the exact same number of images in their search results as users in every other part of the world, but the order in which those results are presented will be different. A user in the U.K., for example, might first see images of British pounds and euros, along with some universal representations of money like a bag of gold and international currency symbols. Someone in the U.S. could see images of dollars and cents as well as images that represent concepts that are culturally unique such as dollars growing on trees or pennies falling from the heavens.

Faceted Search

The new search results page makes all the advanced search features that allow users to modify and refine their queries immediately available. These features include:

* File type and size
* Artist
* Orientation
* Collection
* Upload date
* Collection
* Music genre
* Audio mood/duration (coming soon)

As searches are modified, users will see the results change in real-time to help them decide whether or not additional modifications are needed. Recent searches are also being saved for users who frequently purchase the same type of images. In addition, the word suggestion and spelling correction features that have been a part of iStock’s search capabilities for many years are now easier to use than ever.