Qihoo 360 launches image search service

Chinese Internet company formally debuts beta version of its photo search service, as a new tool under its So.com search engine.

China's Qihoo 360 has officially launched the beta version of its photo search service, available as a tool under its So.com search engine.

The image search service features no advertising, according to the company in a report Wednesday by China Tech News. Qihoo has plans to add more vertical serch services in the near future, the article noted.

China Tech News pointed out the company's search function was "still weak", and currently only provided searches for Web pages, news, music, maps, and videos--hardly enough to cater to diversified demand for software and localized searches.

Qihoo , which had established itself as an Internet security software provider, launched a search service last August.This saw it gain an estimated 5 to 10 percent market share, eroding search giant Baidu's leadership position of around 70 percent.

Rival Baidu has itself been quietly testing a new facial recognition search engine system, according to a report Monday by TechWeb. The service located at shitu.baidu.com allows users to conduct search via uploading images or URLs, instead of convential input via keywords