Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sucking the Fun Out

Dianne has a nice post about Google's beta image labeler. I was using it this weekend and thought it was fun. Sometimes you click with a partner and your labels match right away and you move on to the next image. However, I just couldn't match labels from some partners on straightforward pictures. The interface tells you how many labels your partner has assigned. In many cases my partner would assign three and then stop. Nice effort I thought. I'm busting my brain trying to figure out how they'd label an image and they're not adding labels. I'd put in a half dozen suggestions without any luck. Eventually I'd get them to pass and move on to the next image. With that poor effort, we might only see 3-4 images over the 90 seconds. Boring.

After reviewing a few sets of images, I saw one image of a group of people that had a label of 'diphosphonate'. That term caught my attention because of my work in the bone field. Originally, disphosphonates were used as corrosion inhibitors in closed, circulating water systems and also as water softening agents. In the '60s, folks realized that the attraction diphosphonates have for calcium could be leveraged for bone diseases. Today, many of the osteoporosis medications like Didronel, Actonel, Fosamax, Aredia, etc. are all in the bisphosphonate class (another word for diphosphonates). I thought that was an odd label for a group of smiling people. How could that happen?

After several more sets, I realized holding the cursor over the top of a classified image showed the labels entered by your partner. When I was having trouble matching a partner, I looked at their 3 labels on an image we passed on. I think the image was the portrait of a woman and their labels were diphosphonate, carcinoma, and beleaguered. There is no way I would have matched those labels. Then it dawned on me, some idiots were trying to Google bomb the image classification. They were using odd, unique terms that would cause certain types of images to show up when Google searching for that term.

Those Google bombers just sucked the fun out of the Labeler for me. When I was having trouble matching someone, I'd check their labels immediately after passing on an image. If they were odd terms, I'd leave and start a new set with a different partner. Once again I'm reminded of the kids who didn't play nice in grade school. Were these crappy partners the crazy drivers I described the other week? Can't we all just get along and enjoy a fun little web experiment on image labeling at face value?

2 comments:

Dianne said...

Some people are just plain googley.

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