Google Image Labeler

By Deane Barker on September 2, 2006

Google Image Labeler: Google is somewhat brilliant. Finally giving into the fact that they can’t determine the meaning of everything, they’ve created a game to help them identify what’s in images.

You and a faceless, anonymous partner start. An image comes up, and you start typing labels for it. Your partner is doing the same thing. You can see how many labels he/she has entered, but not what they are. When you both type the same label, you get some points and a new image. There’s a “leaderboard” — some people have hundreds of thousands of points.

So, Google let’s you play a game, and, at the same time, gets two people to review their images, help identify what’s inside them, and incidentally check each other’s work.

Insanely, wickedly brilliant.



  1. I agree…very clever. One wonders when someone will raise the ethical issues associated with this that were raised with Amazon’s initial Mechanical Turk stuff…or when Amazon will add scoring and points in addition to the money.

  2. That is truly brilliant. They essentially hired a couple million temps to work for free. How else could they tag millions of images without busting the budget? Brilliant.

    Wonder how long it’ll take until some deviant figures out a way to fake the system and add a bunch of bogus labels to images.

  3. Similar to user generated tags on Flikr or the way that wikis work. Their image finding tool was lagging behind others for while. This will help hopefully.

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