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EyeIn trawls the social web for relevant, more personal image searches

Ian Paul | June 16, 2015
Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it dead simple to share your experiences with the world. What is not so simple: discovering the experiences of others across all three of these social networks at once. A new image and video search engine called EyeIn hopes to change all that.

You can search for, say, images from the recent floods in Georgia or the earthquakes in Nepal. As EyeIn is new, finding images is really only solid for events that occurred in the past month and a half or so. Go back further than that and you will have to refine your search by location and date.

That said, sometimes even recent events can be a tough find if you are looking for images about a niche topic. Surfing is one of my favorite sports, but getting photos from the World Surf League's ongoing Fiji Pro event took a little digging.

EyeIn did not have an autosuggest for the keywords "Fiji Pro" in any form, but after I searched for Tavarua Island--the location of the tournament--results started popping up.

What I liked about EyeIn's results are they tend to offer a behind-the-scenes look at whatever event you are searching for. During my Fiji search, I saw a lot of candid photos from various surfers that are on the pro tour, as well as fans. I could have found a lot of these images on Instagram, but EyeIn's algorithms narrowed down the results to many interesting shots I likely would have missed. The one downside is EyeIn's results do not completely weed out annoying selfies, especially if you are searching based on a location and not an event recognized by the search engine.

In my experience, most photo results came from Instagram, which Sadeh says is to be expected. Even though EyeIn also searches across Facebook, Mobli, and Twitter, image-focused Instagram tends to have the best and most relevant results.

Digging deeper

After an initial search, you can filter your results by location and date. Let's say I was searching for photos from the protests in Baltimore in April. I could start by searching for West North and Pennsylvania, Baltimore--a central location during the events in that city. Then on the results page I could refine the date to April 27, 2015, and see results just from that day.

If I wanted to see more results from other parts of Baltimore I could click on the expand icon next to the map place marker to enlarge the search location radius. I could also pick up the place marker and move it anywhere else on the map to see results from different areas of the city.

What you see is entirely dependent on what EyeIn's algorithms choose to show you. The search engine refines its results based on a number of factors, including the photo or video's location, caption, comments, likes, and so on.

Once you are done searching, you can click on any result to start a manual slideshow. You can also see the image's original caption, as well as the number of comments and likes it has. To view those comments, however, you have to click through to the originating social network.

 

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