Friday, February 23, 2007

Why Google Image Search is Faulty

Google Image Search is not fit to search for artists. Well, non-pretty artists anyway.

What Google Image Search does basically is display tens of pages of rough results for a keyword (Pixar, for example). Then, the computers count the number of images that people actually click on. Those images are then "promoted" to the front pages depending on the number of clicks they receive, the rank of the hosting page, and other known and unknown variables. This will enhance the search by showing "interesting" pictures first and hiding the ones that are ignored. It works like a huge human filtering machine.

This method works great if you want to search for Mandy Moore, fruit basket, or donkey. However it will mess up when it comes to what I call the eye-candy effect. It will show you the creation of the artist not the artist's own portrait and will show other anomalies.

If you want to see pictures of Pixar, the company, you will search for Pixar, but all you'll get is movie screen shots and sketch art. If I wanted that I would search for Pixar movies and Pixar sketch. I must search for Pixar crew or Pixar company to find what I'm looking for. Another example is if you are looking for pictures of Leonardo da Vinci, all you'll see is his art and one or two pictures of him. Search for Leonardo da Vinci portrait and you'll see the man himself.

What I'm saying is that I have to be specific enough to get around Google's flaws in image search results. Why is it messed up? well, people click on pretty pictures. If I search for Pixar and find a nice colorful picture of Neemo I would defiantly click on it, and so will many other people. If more people click on images that are not related to the search queries, there will be more chance that the search results will be irrelevant to the search query. Would you click on a picture of a group of women when you search for iPod? I think you might. Is it relevant to the search? You be the judge, and help Google mess up search even more.

Google, not the end user, needs to fix image search to get around eye-candy effect.

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