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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Draw to Search for Images

My rendition of the Earth from space.
What Google thinks my rendition looks like.
 If you're looking for that perfect image, sometimes you can imagine it, but you can't find it online. Along comes the "Unofficial Google Image Search by Drawing" site. It presents you with a palette and colors and you can draw what you want to find. It's a wonderful idea, in theory. When I tested it out, however, it didn't work so well. You can see my drawing of the planet on which we resided. Not bad for using a mouse and doing it in just a few minutes (I think). But Google thinks it looks like a pie chart or the Soviet sickle and hammer. Not very helpful.

However, you can also click the "Webcam" link on the page and snap a shot from your computer's camera. I did that of a picture of the planet and Google was able to interpret things much better. But that begs the question: if I can take a picture of it, why do I need to search for a picture of it?

Webcam picture of the Earth from space
(note, it's of another picture, my computer wasn't in space).
Since this is a proof-of-concept, I think it's OK to cut them some slack. It's a cool idea and as it gets better this could offer great ways to search for images.

How would you like to search Google?

What makes it easier for you to find just the right picture?

How Google interprets the webcam picture (much better). 

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