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Friday, September 1, 2006

Google Image Labeler

Google released the Google Image Labeler game. The idea is that you will be labeling images along with a random partner, in real-time. When you both find the same keywords, you score points and advance to the next round. A high-score table shows who scored the most points.

More than a game, for Google this is a way to tag images using human brain power... to improve their image search results. Two people finding the same tag can serve as validation the tag makes sense. I suppose for Google it’s not important that two people find the same keywords at the same time – they can simply let people tag the images and then add any threshold they want (like “4 people must have chosen this tag for it to become a confirmed tag”).

I wonder 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. The idea of this approach isn’t new, but scaling it with the web will be tough.

My first trial round of the game was disappointing. After being presented an image and assigning different keywords to it, the countdown reached zero without anything happening. After I passed, I got the message “Waiting on your partner to pass” again without anything happening – the game simply was stuck. Other trial rounds of the game worked better though, and it’s even kind of fun.

The discussion started in the forum.

[Thanks Ionut.]


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