Quickstart: Get image insights using the Bing Visual Search REST API and Java


Bing Search APIs are moving from Cognitive Services to Bing Search Services. Starting October 30, 2020, any new instances of Bing Search need to be provisioned following the process documented here. Bing Search APIs provisioned using Cognitive Services will be supported for the next three years or until the end of your Enterprise Agreement, whichever happens first. For migration instructions, see Bing Search Services.

Use this quickstart to make your first call to the Bing Visual Search API. This Java application uploads an image to the API and displays the information it returns. Although this application is written in Java, the API is a RESTful Web service compatible with most programming languages.


Create an Azure resource

Start using the Bing Visual Search API by creating one of the following Azure resources:

Bing Search v7 resource

  • Available through the Azure portal until you delete the resource.
  • Select the S9 pricing tier.

Multi-service resource

  • Available through the Azure portal until you delete the resource.
  • Use the same key and endpoint for your applications, across multiple Cognitive Services.

Create and initialize a project

  1. Create a new Java project in your favorite IDE or editor, and import the following libraries:

    import java.util.*;
    import java.io.*;
    import com.google.gson.Gson;
    import com.google.gson.GsonBuilder;
    import com.google.gson.JsonObject;
    import com.google.gson.JsonParser;
    // HttpClient libraries
    import org.apache.http.HttpEntity;
    import org.apache.http.HttpResponse;
    import org.apache.http.client.methods.HttpPost;
    import org.apache.http.entity.ContentType;
    import org.apache.http.entity.mime.MultipartEntityBuilder;
    import org.apache.http.impl.client.CloseableHttpClient;
    import org.apache.http.impl.client.HttpClientBuilder;
  2. Create variables for your API endpoint, subscription key, and the path to your image. For the endpoint value, you can use the global endpoint in the following code, or use the custom subdomain endpoint displayed in the Azure portal for your resource.

    static String endpoint = "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com/bing/v7.0/images/visualsearch";
    static String subscriptionKey = "your-key-here";
    static String imagePath = "path-to-your-image";
  3. When you upload a local image, the form data must include the Content-Disposition header. Set its name parameter to "image", and set the filename parameter to the file name of the image. The contents of the form include the binary data of the image. The maximum image size you can upload is 1 MB.

    Content-Disposition: form-data; name="image"; filename="myimagefile.jpg"
    ÿØÿà JFIF ÖÆ68g-¤CWŸþ29ÌÄøÖ‘º«™æ±èuZiÀ)"óÓß°Î= ØJ9á+*G¦...

Create the JSON parser

Create a method to make the JSON response from the API more readable by using JsonParser.

public static String prettify(String json_text) {
        JsonParser parser = new JsonParser();
        JsonObject json = parser.parse(json_text).getAsJsonObject();
        Gson gson = new GsonBuilder().setPrettyPrinting().create();
        return gson.toJson(json);

Construct the search request and query

  1. In the main method of your application, create an HTTP client using HttpClientBuilder.create().build();.

    CloseableHttpClient httpClient = HttpClientBuilder.create().build();
  2. Create an HttpEntity object to upload your image to the API.

    HttpEntity entity = MultipartEntityBuilder
        .addBinaryBody("image", new File(imagePath))
  3. Create an httpPost object with your endpoint, and set the header to use your subscription key.

    HttpPost httpPost = new HttpPost(endpoint);
    httpPost.setHeader("Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key", subscriptionKey);

Receive and process the JSON response

  1. Use the HttpClient.execute() method to send a request to the API, and store the response in an InputStream object.

    HttpResponse response = httpClient.execute(httpPost);
    InputStream stream = response.getEntity().getContent();
  2. Store the JSON string, and print the response.

    String json = new Scanner(stream).useDelimiter("\\A").next();
    System.out.println("\nJSON Response:\n");

Next steps