Google introduces search-by-image

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Google today will make widely available a new “search by image” feature. It’s up and running and I typed “Ed Rendell,” former Guv of Pennsylvania. This was the first image that came up. I did a search-by-image and came up with this. Pretty cool. The Google Goggles image-recognition function on its mobile app is very impressive: Analyze a picture of, say, a Coke bottle, and you get a link to a Google search for Coke. There are limitations. With the new image-search feature, it would be interesting to search a photo of an unidentified person you are trying to identify. However, Google is not keen on such a feature, according to Wired.com:

Google says it won’t be using any facial recognition technology and that the search works best when an image has some sort of “fame” — so that for instance, Google wouldn’t be able to tell you who lived in a given house in a photo, unless it was something like Graceland.

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How to avoid Internet regurgitation

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I complained yesterday about how the same “funny” images are endlessly recirculating on the Internet. Of course, that’s how a meme develops – the photo or whatever needs to be shared over and over. When something is reblogged on Tumblr hundreds or even thousands of times, that is part of what Tumblr is about and why it is so popular. Let me refine my argument by saying that we should strive for more variety. To that end I found the photo above on MlkShk (“milkshake”) yesterday and considered sharing it elsewhere. I’d never seen it before, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been posted and reblogged dozens of times. So I used a “reverse-image” search engine called TinEye. This is what I got back:

TinEye quickly found 120 instances were the photo was used already. Now here I am with 121. Fine, let everyone share and remix to their heart’s content. TinEye is a cool service that also can serve as a helpful analytical tool. Besides the website, there are TinEye browser plugins for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. A TinEye Android app is in beta testing. Oh yeah, I also complained about being disappointed with MlkShk, which is a new image-sharing site in beta testing. I spent more time on the site and found the quality of material was much better than I encountered during my first survey. I’m also getting a better feel for how the site and community work. Request an invite and give it a spin.