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Clustering image search results through voting: reciprocal election

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #8112428.

A search results page contains images that are organized based on the visual features of those images; images that have common visual features are grouped together using either a folding or a reciprocal election technique. Images that pertain to a particular meaning of a query term are less likely to be scattered across the page. A group of images that have common visual features is represented on the page by a single representative image from that group. Consequently, space for more representative images becomes available on the image search results page. Thus, search results page contains visually diverse representative images; space on the results page is not wasted by repeatedly showing the same image. The initial image search results page also therefore is more likely to contain representative images that otherwise would have occurred too far down a relevance-ranked list to be included within the initial search results page.

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