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forum > Technical questions > searching problem

searching problem

1. lusi8 February 2010, 12:34 GMT +01:00

The search machine cant find two word descriptions - for example, for "gold frame" there is no result when searching, even though there are images that have both keywords

2. krayker8 February 2010, 12:40 GMT +01:00

I think it would register in the search function here if it were listed as a single keyword phrase. for example "bee eater". I am not sure how it works, I tried "eater" and the image bee eater is listed. hmm, search is complex to the programmer!

3. crisderaud8 February 2010, 13:33 GMT +01:00

They are working hard on the combination word search issue. It is very complex for the programmer.

They have made great strides with the search function within this last week. They have proved time and again they can solve problems with the site functions.

I am confident they will overcome this obstacle too and keep this site custom and unique.

4. florinf8 February 2010, 18:48 GMT +01:00

I have found another search issue.

I have searched for "paper" and got a lot of "wallpaper" and that is images of a wooden tile floor, also a fractal backround, a straw mat texture, a stone texture, some grass photos and so on. Not so many paper textures around here or they are masked by the search engine.

It would be great if paper gets paper and wallpaper all the wallpaper images.

Maybe something like "paper -wall" or something like this could help searching otherwise the results are not convincing. Some people may not come again if they don't get what they came for.
I think.

Anyway, I know it's complicated so this is only as a "future to do issues" whenever possible.


5. mzacha11 February 2010, 11:29 GMT +01:00

I reported it earlier. You type RAY (like sun ray) and you receive a pRAYing woman. Not too good ;P.

6. lusi18 February 2010, 10:49 GMT +01:00

Since the two keywords search and 3-letter words give 0 results, perhaps - until the problem is solved - you should put Search "one word only, minimum 4 letters", so that the new users dont leave the site thinking there isnt anything they need here. Just a suggestion...

7. jazza18 February 2010, 21:07 GMT +01:00

We are working at the search issues right now. It can take some time so please be a little patient if you can.
I can provide you with some statistics: Since January 25 we had 25,000 search actions. 1800 searches were 3-letter searches.

8. jevvv22 February 2010, 0:13 GMT +01:00

Can you use Google to power the image searches?

(please don't shoot me for asking)

9. jazza22 February 2010, 14:28 GMT +01:00

@8 no I wont shoot you. It is a good question and we have a friendly community, don't we?

We could use Google search, but there are some technical disadvantages. Right now we started working with an other search engine. A search engine on our site and not external like Google. It will take some time before it will work though.

10. sundstrom7 March 2010, 13:24 GMT +01:00

Hats of to all these voluntary efforts put into the site but just out of curiosity; search as such is not a technically challenging problem but is it so that the integration of the search engine with the database is problematic?

What level of programming are we dealing with here?

11. lennie7 March 2010, 15:46 GMT +01:00

Well, when you build a site, which grows really quickly in a short time you will always run in to scaling problems which you didn't expect, search is our scaling problem. We are reorganising things because of it. This takes time.

And it turns out to pretty much never to be possible to predict what will be the problem.

If you want to know more about it, just have a look at presentations about Facebook or Youtube. But what does happen, the faster you solve the problems, the more populair the site becomes. So it is important. As one Youtube-engineer said: when we fixed one problem ,we had a few hours of sleep and the site had became more populair and then we had to work on the next problem.

Ok, maybe we are not growing that fast yet. ;-)

What is kind of annoying is we have some things almost finisched to put online, but we are working on this instead.

Maybe I'll be able to put some of the search-changes online this evening. We'll have to see. We wanted to do it all at ones, but it is taking to much time. I'll possible do a partly release of the changes.

12. krayker8 March 2010, 3:15 GMT +01:00

I think we have to be a bit patient with the development of the site, since the site is still in beta.

13. lennie8 March 2010, 22:28 GMT +01:00

The changes I wanted to make have been delayed by a few days, possible a week because of other issues.

14. krayker9 March 2010, 7:37 GMT +01:00

i think you need to have a "beta" label on the top. give the development of the site a 6 month time-line or version 1 or keep it in beta, until such time that the site has all the basic requirements : like group editing of tags, better search , better design of site - I'd like it to be a bit better, a finalized logo , etc.

15. lennie9 March 2010, 14:45 GMT +01:00

I've been thinking a long the same lines. Although we just have that one big issue, search. If we finish that we are out of beta anyway. It just took a lot longer then expected.

16. krayker9 March 2010, 16:24 GMT +01:00

I still think, that even when the search is sorted , you still can afford to have the beta label. a fine example would be google and how they went about with their gmail - they were on beta, way past their sell by date for that label :P - but that ways, they could introduce as many features, and say "hey, we're still in beta you know, and we still kick some serious ass ;)"

also, I'm not sure if many here, or at sxc, know or remember how sxc was in the initial stages. People would stack rgb with a now mature service. in short. beta. :)

17. sundstrom10 March 2010, 22:49 GMT +01:00

Thanks for the explanation Lennie!

18. lennie13 March 2010, 14:45 GMT +01:00

Just now search had a small update. it will not solve every problem, it won't solve honger or give us world peace either, but I think it will work a little better for most people using the site.

As sundstrom liked the explanation and I think it's good if people know where the progress and changes are I will explain it. Also so that, you, the photographers know how to make your files easier to find. I will explain what happend so far and what changed.

This update is what I would call: search version 3 lite.

Version 1 was: just the first version, but turned out to be slow and inaccurate when the site grew quickly.

Version 2 was: created to fix the performance problem and only handles one keyword properly.

Version 3 is: an attempt to fix the inaccuracy problem and allow more keywords, but it turns our it was to slow again. It is the one that made us choose to rebuild parts of the backend.

Because their was so much time between the last update and when the new update would take place. And because we are still doing restructuring of the backend.

In the meantime we now release version 3 'lite', it is accurate and fast for one keyword.

Maybe we'll do a release of version 3 'lite 2' as well, which handles 2 keywords and is still fast and accurate.

I wanted to release version 3 lite last week, but the existing search had become slow so we had to change that and figure out what happend and see what happend after our changes everything was back to normal.

So that's why I did a release today.

The intent of the new and short term search changes is to leverage keywords as much as possible. That means if you put a file online, please, please, please look at the keywords closely.

The new version is almost never worse than the previous version and usually better. Especially for keywords like 'car' or 'red', where the old one shows 'carpet' or 'predator' as well at the top.

It hasn't left anything out which was previously there.

Just the sorting has changed, not the number of results.

The ones where it might do worse are the files with keywords which have
just one of the other:

When you search for pebble and pebbles is moved to the back of the list.

Atleast it will move wallpaper to the back of the list as well when you
search for paper.

So you should really add both keywords, that works better: pebble and pebbles.

An other tip is: add 'color' as well as 'colour' for different spellings depending on American, Australian or British English.

19. krayker13 March 2010, 15:58 GMT +01:00

@ lennie. have been tracking the changes by testing different keywords, and adding the appropriate keywords. like pebble/ pebbles, saw that working live and changing. but its a bit tedious to add keywords manually to many images. i have 500 odd images, I shudder to think about those with above thousand! :)

but the more keywords, the merrier, in general. and getting more results isn't necessarily bad, just there's a bit of dilution in the quality. over a period of time things will get better for sure, only thing - we can come and share our concerns here, and you could make things better for the community!

thanks for the lengthy explanation!

20. jimdaly9813 March 2010, 17:18 GMT +01:00

this was posted on the SXC forum some time ago.

'I found this the other day on the website of Yuri Arcurs, the worlds top microstock photographer. In just a few years he has gone from being a student to making more than a million dollars a year (gross) from microstock.

Anyway, try this:


It is a really excellent assistant. You just enter 2 or three simple keywords describing your image, and it will search Shutterstock for images matching the keywords (ordered by popularity). You then just select those images that are most like yours, and it will tell your the 50 most common keywords for those images. Pretty clever IMHO.'

The SXC reference is below


I found it extremely helpful. If you're having trouble thinking up appropriate keywords, give it a go.

21. xymonau14 March 2010, 1:09 GMT +01:00

Kray, Jim's suggestion is the very best. I have begun using that. I have over a thousand images, and I can only manage a few at a time. It's tedious work. Just as you upload, try to do the worst of it then. And thesauruses are a great source, too. Perhaps you could have a standard list for all birds, say, and then just add the individual things like size, after cutting and pasting the standard. Saves a lot of typing.

22. lennie14 March 2010, 1:16 GMT +01:00

Yes, it does seem like it might be helpful what Jim suggested.

Dez, I've been thinking about how something like that might work, it's been discussed in an other forum-thread already. We are making a lot of progress with the restructuring now, but I can't make any promised right now.

23. krayker14 March 2010, 10:29 GMT +01:00

Thanks for the suggestion Jim, I've already started using that keyword tool, and used it for many of my images!

24. jazza5 April 2010, 10:31 GMT +02:00

RGBStock.com uses from now on a new search engine. This engine is much smarter then the old one. Searching on two kewords in no problem anymore.
When searching on 'red car' you will find a much better result.

Searching for 'tulip', you will find photos with keywords like 'tulip', 'tulips', 'red tulip' and so on. A photo with the keywords 'tulip','tulips' AND 'red tulips' will be listed higher then a photo with only one matching keword. Keyword optimization will be more important now.

25. xymonau7 April 2010, 9:17 GMT +02:00

Lennie, I wasn't suggesting a list on this site. I just mean a personal list.

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