Google Image Labeler

The latest news in the land of Google today is that they have released a “game” called Google Image Labeler.  Here’s the deal, Google will randomly (in real time) select a partner for you.  You will start entering labels for images and when you and your partner have matched labels you get points and move on to a new image to label.  I tried it out for a few minutes and quite honestly, it was kinda fun! Of course I can think of some better things to do with my time on a Friday night but for a few minutes it was amusing and I actually got into it.

Just think about how effective this could truly be.  The purpose of Google doing this is obviously to improve the search image results.  I’ve used Google Images on more than a few occasions and have found it to be really useful.  In searching for what other blogs had to say about it, over at Google Blogoscoped, he says the validation tags makes sense but  wonders

” if Google can reach critical mass with this game enough players participating long enough to label many images to ever make this relevant for their main image search.”

I first read about the Image Labeler when I saw Michael Arrington’s article from TechCrunch come across my feed. This is his take:

“I tried the game. It’s fun, in a why-am-I-doing-this kind of way. I focused on labeling everything I saw as ‘purple’ and ‘Donald Trump’. Hopefully if enough other people do this as well, Google will find a better way of labeling photos, possibly one that involves software instead of free labor.” 

Since originally reading his take, he has removed the latter part about the free labor deal which is why I linked to the duggmirror site that still had the original in cache.  Apparently he had second thoughts about that statement.

Do I think we should kiss the ground Google walks on? No, but some of their services including the images have been very helpful, beneficial, and even time saving. The game is entirely voluntary and you can play as a guest with no registration required.

I could see other companies such as Flickr doing something similar to this that would spark enough interest for users to tag images as well. The problem that Google is going to have to deal with is users trying to tag images with incorrect or inappropriate key words. Regardless, I’m sure there are plenty of people that will tag correctly and appropriately,  saving Google some time and providing users such as myself with more accurate image search results.

There Are 6 Comments

  1. Kind of addictive… I have almost an hour playing hehehe :lol:
    Hope to be a top scorer or something…

  2. Google will find a better way of labeling photos, possibly one that involves software instead of free labor.

    What’s the matter with ‘free labor’, people are doing this on their own, not being forced too by Goggle. It is not as if Google doing something like this: Before we show you your search results, you will need to label these dozen or so images…

    Seriously though, sounds like a good idea and would work better than any software. No matter how powerful or great still can’t ‘think’ like a person and get the proper keywords.

  3. Actually, maybe we should be thinking even further into this. What if they were looking to get accurate labels to help with object recognition software? Then they would especially know what common items, like a car or book, looks like since those are likely to be tagged correctly.

  4. Google image search is already pretty good – I usually find what I want after two or three searches, and often only need one. The labeling idea is good, because it’s more to do with the Web 2.0 ideals – that content is created by one person and commented, categorized and linked by everyone else. The image search first recognizes file names, then img alt tags, then content around or linking to an image. The problem comes when the image name is generic (picture01.jpg), the alt tag isn’t used and the page is a single page containing ‘My Holiday Pictures’ as its only text. Those pictures are never going to be found in any search where they would be relevant.

    Labeling changes this, and as always most people can be relied upon to label correctly. If five people all go at a picture with the intention of labeling incorrectly the chances are they’ll all choose something totally different, discounting all of their efforts. If every now and then a person tags it honestly these will build up and Google will know that’s a truth rather than a joke.

  5. Its good, but i find myself mainly labeling things “man” or “green” ect, which isn’t very good for labeling, mainly because the other person cant see that its a stadium ect… But the idea is good.

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