More on Flickr, Yahoo! Google, Interestingness and Image Search

Jeff Jarvis on Image Search Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine says that he’s been showing everyone who’ll listen Flickr’s “interestingness.” I have been saying for a while that Flickr’s interestingness algorithm potentially represents a way for Yahoo! to take back image search from Google and left the following comment on Jeff Jarvis’ blog today:

“More than just “interesting,” “interestingness” could potentially be a way that Yahoo! reclaims a little piece of search from Google. Today image search at both Google and Yahoo! is largely broken. Do a search for “San Francisco” at both Google and Yahoo! Image Search and you will find a hodge podge of mostly mediocre images.

Now do an image search for “San Francisco” and rank it by interestingness on Flickr and you get a substantially superior line up of photos.

It will only be a matter of time before Yahoo! integrates Flickr’s algorithm into their image search and Yahoo! will begin serving up much, much better image search pages than Google, this could potentially cause a buzz and a shift in image search traffic from Google to Yahoo!

The main advantage Flickr has with interestingness is that it is based on human input as opposed to pure computer generated search algorithm. The actual human ranking, rating, tagging, commenting, etc. that helps determine interestingness for Yahoo! will give them a leg up in determining superior images.

On the other hand, working against Yahoo! is 1. They have been slow to integrate Flickr’s algorithm into their image search (I have no idea why, it’s seems to me like a complete no brainer) and 2. Google image search results are actually improving. Although I doubt Google still has any “human” element to their image search page rank, I do believe that they may be targeting certain photobloggers for instance who consistently produce quality work and enhancing their image rank. Not that my photography is great, but it is probably better than average from an image search result and most recently with the Google reindex a few weeks ago my Google Image Search traffic has tripled. I’ve also noticed in doing Google Image Searches that since the reindex three weeks ago that their images are in fact better than pre reindex. They still are not as good as Flickr’s interestingness ranked searches, but they are better than they were before.