As reported on the Google Blog, Google have introduced some changes to their image search facility such as larger thumbnails and search by colour, similar images and general user interface enhancements:
“There’s even more sophisticated computer vision technology powering our “Similar images” tool. For example, did you know there are nine subspecies of leopards, each with a distinct pattern of spots? Google Images can recognize the difference, returning just leopards of a particular subspecies. It can tell you the name of the subspecies in a particular image—even if that image isn’t labeled—because other similar leopard images on the web are labeled with that subspecies’s name.” [Read More]
Although the updates are interesting enough, they are still limited by comparrison with a fully featured DAM system. Presumably the images update will also some day make it into Google’s enterprise search appliances also.
Google’s stubborn refusal to index recognised embedded metadata formats such as IPTC and XMP has probably helped to ensure they’re not a serious proposition for DAM currently. If SharePoint continues its forays into the DAM market via Microsoft’s channel partners and VARs, however, one wonders whether Google’s open hostility towards Microsoft might convince them to compete more readily by adapting Google docs to offer DAM capabilities.
The DAM market is massively fractured with hundreds of vendors and it seems practically inevitable that consolidation and a shrinking of the field will have to happen at some stage – if Google were to decide to offer a DAM product, it could be such a catalyst event. Prior to introducing AdWords, Google planned to generate revenue by becoming and enterprise search vendor, this does mean they are (at heart) closer to this sector than you might first imagine.
What are your thoughts? If you are a vendor, do you believe Google are a real threat to your business? If you are a buyer, would you prefer a DAM solution from a larger player like Google or do you believe they will lack the specialist expertise required?