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Category: Ajax Image Scripts /  Google Image Labeler Collaborative Tagging Game

Google Image Labeler

Google has released Google Image Labeler, a streaming Ajax app that makes it fun to label (tag) images apparently built with GWT (via TechCrunch). ...

Google has released Google Image Labeler, a streaming Ajax app that makes it fun to label (tag) images apparently built with GWT (via TechCrunch). It’s a real-time collaborative app, where you work with an online partner, assigned by Google, to look at the same image and decide on some labels together. It works like this:

Google assigns you a random online partner.
You’re shown an image. Somewhere else in the world, your partner will see the same image.
You come up with as many labels as possible, until passing. Your partner is doing likewise.
When both of you come up with the same label, you both move on to the next image. You may also both pass.
Continue labelling images for 90 seconds. At the end, you’ll get a score based on how many labels you made. Scores are persistent if you’re signed in - there’s a table of high scorers.
Google now has tons of label data. 
Google Image Labeler 

This is another example of streaming /Comet, in this case a novel application as well. However, there’s not a single, long-lived, connection. A little Firebug session shows a sequence of POST calls occurring, possibly one call for each label you make and one each time your partner makes a label. The calls are persistent in the sense that they stay open until something happens, but (in my case at least) there are many of them rather than a single call. Also, it looks like the entire interaction, including even the High Scores section, is delivered in a single client-side application, no page refresh.

Looks like this is built with Google Web Toolkit (Google’s first public GWT app?).

One surprising omission is keyboard shotcuts - right now, you can click Enter to submit a label, but you have to pick up your mouse and click to pass.

SearchEngineWatch dug out this excellent 51-minute presentation by Carnegie Mellon’s Luis von Ahn (also of CAPTCHA fame), who talks about ESP Game, which Google subsequently licensed to create Labeler. If you’re wondering whether the Labeller will help Google catch up on Flickr’s tags, here’s a salient stat from the video (8 minutes in): in one year, 9 billion people-hours are spent playing Solitaire; it took 20 million human-hours to build the entire Panama Canal - no wonder the professor talks about finding ways to optimise human cycles :-). Also, note that a single 90-second game will probably yield somewhere between 50 and 200 labels - admittedly some of them are rushed, but how long would it take to gather that info in most web apps? The professor speculates that Google could label all of its images in two months.




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