Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do You Power Search?

No, it's not quite like power yoga.

I really don't need another online class, but Power Searching with Google doesn't take much time and the things I learned will save me more time in the future.

The videos go very, very slowly and are suitable for my father in law. But, click the button at the top right that says "Text Version" and you will see a one page subunit transcript with slides that you can read very quickly. There will be about 5 subunits per week for six weeks.

I thought that I was pretty good at searching, but I learned something new in Lesson 1.2, Image Search by Color.  I work primarily on a laptop and the filter by color option is on the left side of the image search results, partially cut off at the bottom of my screen unless I scroll down.  I never noticed that option before due to that usability problem.

Let's use one of their examples.  Suppose you are in the American Southwest and you find a fossil and want to identify it.  Look up fossils in Google Image Search.  You will see lots and lots of them.

Now filter by color, say the orange color of your sandstone.  Wow, you've now eliminated irrelevant results and primarily have pictures of fossils found in orange stones!
The example with Tesla is even more surprising.

Read the lessons and do the activities. The activities .extend. the learning and show you more new tricks.  Each week's lessons (and all subunits and activities) will only take 30-60 minutes.  60 minutes is if you fly off on an exploratory tangent.

If you are sitting around, waiting for something, read a unit or two.  You may learn something new and useful.

BTW, Yahoo also has an image search, but it is less sophisticated.

Suppose you are tracking down people who have stolen your photos off your web site.  You can upload a version of your image to Google Image Search.  (Click on the camera logo on the search bar.)  Google will search through their indexed images for similar images, even if they have been resized and renamed.  Google has indexed more web pages than images, but the size of their image collection is growing rapidly.  Yahoo has fewer indexed images and cannot currently recognize images that have been resized or renamed.

Image searches rely heavily on % color occurrence so your search may turn up images of unrelated material that has a similar color palette and ratio of colors.  They also rely on meta-data like captions and tags.  That's one of the ingenious things about Flickr, Picasa and Pinterest.  They are providing a platform for imagery owners to collect metadata about their images for free!

Do you use Style.com to view fashion show pictures?  Have you noticed their Pin-It button on the top right?  Pinning is a multi-step process.  You can't save it until you have logged in (telling them who you are) .and. tagged the photo with a description.  Over time, they can collect the frequency of tags of an image, or find images with specific tags; they can also filter by quality of tagger.  (Are you a high-quality tagger with a high trust weighting?)  All that can be collated and returned to the image source (possibly for a fee).

Big data meets crowd-sourcing meets capitalism in the wild-west days of the internet.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds interesting. I've used Google's image search when I want to find something but it looks like there is a lot to learn here for a small investment in time.

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