Artificial Intelligence comes to life in Shutterstock’s new image feature

There has been a lot of hype around Shutterstock’s new artificial intelligence (AI) system that was recently released as a new image search feature in its iOS app.

This new feature is just one of many for the giant photo database company, comprised of almost 80 million images which are available for marketing, blogging and other media. Until now keywords were used as the main way to search for relevant pictures, but with their new AI function you can now upload one from your personal stock and they will bring you back similar looking images.


If you have ever blogged or managed a website you will know how difficult it is to get the same type of pictures to keep the theme going over a long period of time. From shapes, color, mood and even reverse image search can be done with Shutterstock’s new technology. It was first introduced on desktop three months ago, and now it’s as simple opening your iPhone and searching using your very own mobile pictures. This move to the smartphone has been very well received, with many fans satisfied with the speed and accuracy of the AI.

One of the most fast growing field in technology today is computer vision, an AI that enables computers to analyze images on a pixel basis rather than through the image meta data. The computer vision department at Shutterstock was only assembled a year ago, and already they are proving to be worth their penny.

If you have an iPhone you just need to download the Shutterstock app and search for pictures using the option that lets you add a picture on the spot, or upload from your gallery. They have incorporated their system so that you can use services such as Dropbox and iCloud to search for images instantaneously.  It only takes a few seconds, then your results are presented in a nice glossy grid where you can choose to download.

Though these reverse images are not novel, you might have noticed that Google has had this option for a while now and even recently moved to mobile. But for Shutterstock, their AI could help give them useful insights into their user behavior, enabling them to improve their service and consolidate their position as the number one place for bloggers, photographers and journalists.