How is the internet answer to visual searching coming? Ive heard that the present software is wholly inadequate and expensive.
I don't think there really is any functional visual search mechanism out there yet, or even in the works. There have been a few attempts to get humans to tag images with keywords so that a visual database could be constructed, but that's just another "word-search" paradigm using humans to categorize images. It's not really a "visual" search the way I think of it.
At some point I would expect that "facial recognition" type algorithms will be used to try to categorize images, but a base categorization hierarchy will have to be defined and then the recognition software will have to be modified to target it. At least that's what I anticipate, but I'm not sure if it's being done yet.
But I've been out of the high tech world for several years now, so I may be missing some of the new stuff.