I just spent a few minutes playing with the Google Image Labeler game and have three words to describe it, lame, lame and lame.
I honestly have no idea how a company as smart as Google could think that this game will be their salvation when it comes to image search.
I have written a lot about how inferior Google Image Search (and other algorithmic based image search engines) are to Flickr image search in the past. And it would finally seem that Google is at least trying to get a clue to use actual human labor to better categorize their images. But they are going about this all wrong.
First off, the game is boring as hell. Sure there are a few mindless drones out there who might play for a bit, but nobody will keep playing this thing long term. Lets see, I get to tag random bad quality photos that I have no connection whatsoever with for… fun? I don’t think so. This game is about as fun as the game we play at the Hawk household called “Let’s Race.” “Let’s Race” is played like this. You do the dishes, I do the laundry, whoever finishes first is the big winner! On your mark, get set, goooooooo!
Of course Google does have reach and to that extent that there are always idiots in the world so I suppose they will always have players. But still. What a load of crap. Of course it probably makes a little more sense when you see on the game I played today that the number four winner today is going by the handle “Pokeman is Cool.” Do you really want someone named “Pokeman is Cool” deciding what things should be labeled anyways?
The other problem with this game is that it only helps Google find out what things are. So what if you’ve got 6 million images now tagged “San Francisco.” If you don’t know which ones are good and which one’s are not good it doesn’t do you much good. There is no ranking, faving, or activity function to this horrible game.
So what should Google do instead? Don’t be lame Google. Either build or buy a decent photo sharing site. People on Flickr LOVE to tag photos. Why do they LOVE to tag photos? Because they are their own photos first and foremost and secondly they are their friend’s photos or other photos that they actually admire on the site. And frequently it’s mutual. But they do more than just tag, they effectively (through their activity on a photo by marking it favorite, or comment, or whatever) also rank the image as well. And so an image tagged dog with 50 people marking it as a favorite is probably a more interesting image of a dog than a random one on Google.
By the way Google, I’ve got another cool game to pitch you on when you have a second. It’s called the who can sweep out the Google parking lot game the fastest. What you do is have people show up at the Googleplex and give them brooms. They race up and down rows in the parking lot sweeping up. The winner gets their name handle on a little the Google Clean Up the Parking Lot Game homepage. (People can play more than once). Think of the janitorial bills you could save. It would be brilliant.
Sheesh Google, come on, you can do a lot better than this. Really, this is not that difficult.