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New development may change the way people conduct online searches

This is Science Today. Engineers at the University of California, Santa Cruz have developed a powerful new search technique for images and video that may change the way people conduct searches online. Peyman Milanfar, a professor of electrical engineering, says with a single photograph or video clip, their software could sift through thousands of images and videos to pull out the ones that look like the template.

Milanfar:        You know, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, if you can search with a single image, it's almost like searching with a thousand words and that's really the direction that I see this technology going.

Narrator:       Milanfar says the time is right in part because of the proliferation of digital technology.

Milanfar:        Think of how many video cameras are in people's hands, how many still cameras. Just the amount of visual information that is being produced by consumers is astonishing and to be able to put that into some kind of order so that you can search through it, so that you can find relevant information, so you can construct other types of information with this visual data is really the next big step.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.