Very Cool Search

I was so interested in the announcements from Google this week.  The big thing I wanted to try was the "Search by Image" option.  It seems (and is) so simple.  Just drag an image into the search box on http://images.google.com and let Google do its thing.  Going in, I really wasn’t sure what "its thing" was going to be but I decided to give it a shot.

Looking through the ol’ hard drive, I found a picture that I took at San Antonio a few years ago at an ISTE Conference.  I even remember the gentleman on the ladder doing some repair work.  I used it in a Photoshop Elements workshop where we removed him from the image.  But, I digress.

The instructions are pretty simple.  Just go to Google Images search and drag your own image to the search box.  Check.  Here goes….

And the results…

Now, this was a WOW! moment for me.  Google recognized the facade of the famous landmark.  I get a couple of references to do some further research and then, apparently, I’m not the only tourist to have ever taken that picture.  I notice that Google has switched back and provided the results from the Everything page.  I flip through Images and Videos and the results from my search have been carried forward.  Now, I’m really impressed.  A couple of uses come to mind.

How many times are you on vacation and take a particular image and when you get home realize that you could have done a better job?  A little assistance from Google could get your some better images!  Or, in the case of The Alamo, pictures from different angles because it was too hot and you were too lazy to do it yourself….

A nice feature would be able to filter the results immediately by Creative Commons license.  That would be really helpful if you’re looking for a similar image.

But, back to the original premise.  I was just so impressed that Google did such a good job recognizing this.  Now, certainly, the facade at The Alamo may well be one of the most recognizable images you’ll ever find.  It certainly has its huge importance to Texas.

What if I tried another ISTE picture.  Looking around, I notice that I have pictures from ISTE in San Diego.  I upload this one.

This is definitely a unique image, but it’s no Alamo.

Google gives it the old college try.

I suppose that it is a welcome humanity over machine that Google didn’t recognize the convention centre…yet.  I’m sure that this search will get smarter with time.  But, for the time being, you’ll get similar images in colour or you could give Google a nudge and provide a search word.

Very interesting.  At this point, I’m not totally certainly how often I would use this service but it’s nice to know that it works so nicely and I have an idea of what to expect.  At this point in time, I’ll move it to the "cool" side of the ledger.

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