Archive for June 2007

Flickr Photos Integrated into Yahoo Image Search

Flickr Photos Integrated into Yahoo Image Search

[I’m CEO of Zooomr]

Search Engine Journal is reporting this morning that Yahoo has added over 300 million indexed Flickr images into it’s image index. And so begins the single most important reason that Yahoo bought Flickr back in March of 2005 — to use social search and rank to increase the relvancy of image search on Yahoo. And with that, Yahoo just took a huge step in overtaking Google in relevancy for the first time even if in one small area.

I have been heavily blogging about this day for the past 2.5 years. Some of my past posts on this matter can be read here and here and here and here and well you get the idea.

Today’s integration of Flickr images into Yahoo image search is only the first step though. It’s being done cautiously. For instance. Do an image search on Yahoo Image Search for “San Francisco” this morning and you will find that no Flickr images appear on the first page. But page forward and you will start seeing the images. Eventually you can expect much more forceful integration of Flickr’s superior image search algorithm into all Yahoo Image Search main results.

Getting at what is inside of a photo is tremendously tricky. Google at present uses an image labeler game to try and get at this but this is not near as fun as Flickr and social photosharing — or something like hot or not. But the fact of the matter is that social communities can be quite adept at determining what photos are better than others.

Where this sort of search technology will work best of course is at the long tail.

Take some of these examples for instance and you will see that with the Flickr integration that Yahoo mostly now produces superior results in image search than their competitors with this recent Flickr integration. It works especially well with long tail people search. All image searches were done with quotes.

Thomas Hawk: Yahoo Images, Google Image Search, Microsoft Images, Ask Images

Robert Scoble: Yahoo Images, Google Images, Microsoft Images, Ask Images

Mount Tam: Yahoo Images, Google Images, Microsoft Images, Ask Images

Tag Cathedral: Yahoo Images, Google Images, Microsoft Images, Ask Images

Sacramento Train Museum: Yahoo Images, Google Images, Microsoft Images, Ask Images

This is also technology that we’ve recently incorporated into Zooomr. Recently at Zooomr we developed our own algorithm using 28 different characteristics to determine rank and relevancy of photos. And even though today the Zooomr photo library is much smaller than Flickr, you can already see the success of letting social communities determine rank. Take this search on Zooomr for instance for sunflower, or dog, or cat, or beach. Now these are common terms of course. But as Zooomr’s photo library keeps getting bigger and bigger, the image search associated with Zooomr will get better and better and reach further and further into the long tail. This has enormous implications for image search, but also for search for things like stock photography.

There is so much important work to do in the months ahead with image search, but the best image search going forward will be done around social networks. Yahoo was very smart to purchase Flickr back in 2005. It was the search team that bought Flickr not the Yahoo photos team that bought Flickr. Watch as this new integration evolves and gets better and better in the months ahead and watch as Yahoo leapfrogs their major competitors in image search.

Mike Arrington vs. Charles Cooper

CrunchNotes � Sorry CNET, You’ve Mistaken Me For Someone Who Gives A Damn Mike Arrington is out with a post this morning that is a follow up in a long line of posts over the past few days about an issue with FM Publishing and bloggers who lended their names to a recent Microsoft advertising campaign.

By way of disclosure, FM Publishing does my ads for thomashawk.com and I was never asked to be one of the bloggers to participate in the Microsoft ad campaign in question.

Mike says that John Battelle who runs FM threw bloggers under a bus with this post and says TechCrunch is looking for new ad representation.

Personally, to me, alot of this drama seems much ado about nothing. Bloggers increasingly are gaining power and a blogger like Mike Arrington is about as powerful a blogger as they come. A blogger has power not just because they reach thousands of readers, but because they reach thousands of important readers. Influencers, decision makers, other bloggers, journalists etc. Getting a top blogger to blog about your product can mean much more than just a blog post.

I’m CEO of Zooomr. Mike Arrington, CNET, Scoble, lots of people have blogged about our product. Now, last week the largest newspaper in Israel posted a positive review about Zooomr (they gave us 4.5 stars and we tied for the highest rating of photo sharing sites reviewed). This resulted in thousands of new sign ups on our site. My guess is that they read about Zooomr on a blog somewhere. But I don’t need to tell you all that blogs can be influential.

So it’s clear that marketers and savvy PR folks get this. So the question is how should bloggers handle this push by marketers to influence them. My own opinion is that each blogger can do whatever they want as long as it’s disclosed.

Did the drobo folks give me a free drobo and then I blogged about it? Sure. Did I disclose that they gave me one? Yep. Is it a kick ass product? Yep it sure is. The company came back and asked me if they could use quotes from my blog for their marketing stuff. I said yes to that too. Again. Because I thought it was a kick ass product. They didn’t offer me any money to do this by the way. I just liked their product and so it was fine with me.

Now. At question in this CNET vs. Arrington vs. FM Publishing debate is whether or not it was disclosed that bloggers were receiving a financial interest by participating in these testimonial sort of ads. And with this one I’m going to have to side with Mike Arrington. An ad is an ad and unless you are an idiot most people can tell the difference. The ad in question was a very stylized ad that only a moron would consider to be editorial content. If I saw that ad on Mike’s blog I’d *know* it was an ad. And I wouldn’t take it in any way as Mike was secretly selling out to Microsoft.

Should there have been additional disclosure by FM authors that these ad units were in fact testimonial ad units? Nah, I don’t think so.

Ads are fine. Ads are good in fact. They help publishers like Mike survive and put something like TechCrunch out. It couldn’t be done without the ads.

So not only is Mike Arrington right on this one, but he just earned himself a hell of lot more respect by having the balls to stand up to some pretty powerful people in the tech industry. This is nothing new for Mike of course. He pisses people off all the time. But that’s also in part what makes him an interesting blogger.

Dave Winer has some good thoughts on the whole thing as well.

Mashable: 90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources

90 Online Photography Tools and Resources: Damn Mashable is good! I wish I had time to write posts up like they did this past weekend. Their 90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources is *definitely* worth checking out!

Had a Great Time Photowalking Friday Night in the Haight

Vintage Drag QueenChoking The Dragon
When Death Comes For Me...GulpPhotowalking 11 in Haight 75

Photos from top l to r by: Jeremy Brooks, Prophead, PJ Taylor and Stephanie Booth.

Well about 25 of us all got together for a great night of photowalking in the Haight. Scoble came out and shot the thing for Photowalking 11 and I shot my very first episode of a new show I’m doing for Podtech called Phototalking. Eddy Joaquim (better known online as aquiali) was my first guest and we did a great 20 minute interview or so about his work, gear, technique, workflow, etc.

Lots of folks came out for the shoot. We started at Haight and Ashbury and worked our way west down Haight street shooting the local color, mannequins in window displays, colorfully painted restaurants, some of the interesting citizens that hang out in the Haight and lots of great graffiti and murals.

Jeremy Brooks has a good write up here. And be sure to check out the Photowalking11 tag on Zooomr to check out some of the great pics from our outing.

Although on this photowalk I felt like I did a lot more phototalking than actual shooting, I still got lots of shots in. I do like phototalking too though and just geeking out with a bunch of hardcore photogeeks. Seeing what everyone’s shooting. Listening to Prophead talk about his underwater photography on video for Scoble, etc. Loved seeing that John Curley picked up the new L Series 135 f/2 lens (my favorite lens personally speaking). And of course then we all got to see Sam Bloomberg-Rissman’s new tattoo.

All in a great night hanging out with friends and taking in one of the great San Francisco neighborhoods.

Primitive

Primitive

Something I Saw Today

Something I Saw Today

Reminder, Photowalking in the Haight Tonight

A reminder that a bunch of us will be shooting in the Haight tonight. We’ll meet on the corner of Haight and Ashbury at 6 p.m.

Upcoming.org event listing is here.

Flight

Flight

GigaOm and MetaCafe’s New Tee Vee Pier Screening at Pier 38

Om Malik and CNET's Erica Ogg
GigaOm’s Om Malik and CNET’s Erica Ogg.

Last night GigaOm and MetaCafe hosted a night of short parody videos on Pier 36 in San Francisco. The evening had a panel who critiqued the videos selected for showing and talked about fair use and how that applied to parody, etc.

One of the panelists there was Jib Jab Media founder Greg Spiridellis who talked about the legal issues that Jib Jab had when they released one of the most famous internet parody videos of all time “This Land.” Spiridellis also shared with us Jib Jab’s latest parody video below called, “What We Call the News.” I thought it was the best video of the night. It’s pretty hilarious and if you haven’t checked it out you you definitely should.

The entire evening was a pretty fun get together. A bunch of tech geeks with beer and popcorn hanging out outside on a Pier in San Francisco on a Tuesday night. It was great to catch up with lots of friends.

If you want to see some of the shots that I took at the event be sure to check out the Zooomr tag Pier Screenings 061907.

We were also able to hand out some of our new Zooomr stickers which was fun too. Here’s a shot of Kristopher and Tajee sporting Zooomr!

Zoho, The Best Place for Your Online Applications

Kristopher and Raju
Kristopher Tate and Zoho’s Raju Vegesna

Web Office Suite: Who’s Leading The Pack? Read/WriteWeb has a good rundown comparing the major online office packages. They compare Google Apps, Microsoft Office Live, thinkfree, Zoho and Zimbra. As part of this article they mention the new release of Meeting, the latest public beta from Zoho.

Personally I gave up buying basic software (i.e. spreadsheets, word processing, presentation software, etc.) about a year ago. To me, when there are very strong online offerings for free, it just doesn’t make sense for me to buy software from Microsoft.

While some people need these apps on their computers, with EVDO my laptop is pretty much always connected to the internet and so online software works just fine for me. Not only does it work fine but it works better. Because I can use online sharing options etc.

Read/WriteWeb pretty much whittles the comparison down to two obvious choices, Zoho and Google Apps. Of the two they note that Zoho has the most complete offering so far.

Now. About a year ago when I started wth online apps I went with Google docs. More because they were big and Google than anything. And I never really bothered to check out Zoho.

But since then I’ve had a chance to try out Zoho and today that’s where all my online doc stuff is done. Now, at this point I have to disclose that Zoho is currently helping out the company that I’m CEO of, Zooomr. So bear that in mind. But. What I will say is that I still think Zoho’s the much better choice. Mostly because it’s faster and more intuitive. Where I had problems with Google’s spreadsheets before Zoho loads much faster. Even large spreadsheets are quick to load. So on a basic level I like Zoho better as a product.

But far, far, more important to me than even the fact that Zoho is to me the better choice from a software perspective, even much, much, more important is that they support the community. Of course they stepped in and helped us with Zooomr at an incredibly important time. But they also do things like advertise over on Gabe Rivera’s Techmeme site and make great efforts to support small online community oriented sites. And this means so much to me. That Zoho is not only the better choice for online apps but that they *also* have chosen to make a committment to help out small startups like Zooomr and support future technology makes them the hands down winner.

So if you are thinking about online applications, my vote goes to Zoho. They are the best online office suite at present but they also are a company with a big heart and an understanding of the importance of community.