Meet Haystack: Like Google Image Search for Stock

October 21, 2016

The stock image market is teeming with images and combing through them to find the right one grows exponentially more challenging as more images flood in.

A new startup, dubbed Haystack, aims to help users searching for images by aggregating major stock services and using image recognition and artificial intelligence technology to match queries with the right image. Because of its broad scope and image recognition technology, users can search for images using more natural language terms and find results that they couldn’t otherwise find using the same search terms in the individual stock sites.

Haystack can currently search 19 stock services at once, including Getty Images, EyeEm, PhotoShelter, Stocksy and some specialty sites like StockPotImages. Some services have allowed Haystack to ingest their images to enable faster searches while others enable searching their archives via live API calls. Users can also narrow their search to individual stock companies. Co-founder Andrew Rowat, a travel photographer, says the company will not integrate micro-stock services into the engine. “I don’t want to be an agent of downward price pressure in the market,” he says.

When a user finds an image they’re happy with, they’re brought directly to the stock service its licensed too where they can complete their transaction. At that point, Haystack (which is free to use) takes it cut.

Haystack is currently being bootstrapped by Rowat and co-founder and is in Data Future Lab, a New York startup incubation program.