Image Similarity Search Wanted

Update: Since writing this blog post I’ve been using the Open Source Pastec application to do image similarity search. It’s good, and works well, although it’s not quite as good as the commercial MathEngine service provided by TinEye. I’ve also written a Pastec node module
that you may find to be helpful.

I’ve been working on a few projects in my spare time and one service, in particular, would greatly benefit from a high quality image similarity search.

I’ve been trying a number of the Open (and non-Open) Source tools (a great list of which is on Wikipedia here). Thus far none of the tools that I’ve found are of high-enough quality to warrant further pursuit. They either do simple color comparison, basic wavelet/outline comparison, or some form of hashing – none of which appears to work very well beyond basic images. Some of the best algorithms are either caught up in University research programs (generally unreleased) or are available as corporate search engines.

In an ideal world I’d like something with the quality of TinEye (I’d even be open to using TinEye’s commercial services but they haven’t gotten back to me as of yet – I suspect that they’re mostly interested in dealing with large corporate clients).

In short: Does anyone have a lead on a high quality image similarity search tool (using Content-Based Image Retrieval)? I’m open to Open Source, closed source, or even paid API service – as long as it works well.

Note: I’m looking to use this on a private collection of images, so a service like Google Image Search (or TinEye’s normal commercial API) are not suitable alternatives – they both search images on the open web.

Posted: February 13th, 2012

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