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Visual Search Sits on the Brink of a Breakthrough



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Inside the cavernous walls of The Home Depot, customers wander the aisles in search of a store employee wearing a signature orange apron. They’re trying to replace a specific part — maybe a gasket, or a flange.
It can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
In 2016, in an effort to aid customers with this exact problem, the retailer added visual search to its mobile app by adding a camera icon to the search bar. When a customer takes or uploads a photo of a part they may need, machine learning and computer vision technology scan every product in Home Depot’s 1-million product catalog to render the most accurate results matching the image and tell you where in the store it is, or send you to the online page it can be found.

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