Exploratory Product Image Search With Circle-to-Search Interaction

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, 2015, 25 (7), pp. 1190 - 1202
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© 2014 IEEE. Exploratory search is emerging as a new form of information-seeking activity in the research community, which generally combines browsing and searching content together to help users gain additional knowledge and form accurate queries, thereby assisting the users with their seeking and investigation activities. However, there have been few attempts at addressing integrated exploratory search solutions when image browsing is incorporated into the exploring loop. In this paper, we investigate the challenges of understanding users' search interests from the product images being browsed and inferring their actual search intentions. We propose a novel interactive image exploring system for allowing users to lightly switch between browse and search processes, and naturally complete visual-based exploratory search tasks in an effective and efficient way. This system enables users to specify their visual search interests in product images by circling any visual objects in web pages, and then the system automatically infers users' underlying intent by analyzing the browsing context and by analyzing the same or similar product images obtained by large-scale image search technology. Users can then utilize the recommended queries to complete intent-specific exploratory tasks. The proposed solution is one of the first attempts to understand users' interests for a visual-based exploratory product search task by integrating the browse and search activities. We have evaluated our system performance based on five million product images. The evaluation study demonstrates that the proposed system provides accurate intent-driven search results and fast response to exploratory search demands compared with the conventional image search methods, and also, provides users with robust results to satisfy their exploring experience.
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