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.