Scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT) has been well studied in recent years. Most related research efforts focused on designing and learning effective descriptors to characterize a local interest point. However, how to identify stable local interest points is still a very challenging problem. In this paper, we propose a set of differential features, and based on them we adopt a data-driven approach to learn a ranking function to sort local interest points according to their stabilities across images containing the same visual objects. Compared with the handcrafted rule-based method used by the standard SIFT algorithm, our algorithm substantially improves the stability of detected local interest point on a very challenging benchmark dataset, in which images were generated under very different imaging conditions. Experimental results on the Oxford and PASCAL databases further demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed algorithm on both object image retrieval and category recognition.