Google’s Image Swirl

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google image swirlGoogle Labs has introduced Image Swirl as a test platform for alternative image searching and viewing.  It works similarly to the Wonder Wheel, but for image searches rather than standard queries.

It’s a cool concept, pulling similar results form your search together into “stacks.”  Each stack is from a specific site or sites that are very similar in subject matter, so the images under the stack are likely to match as well.  When you choose a stack, you’re presented with a Wonder Wheel-like circle of the images within that group as well as sub-groups of more, related images.

Google Image Swirl- da vinci drawings_1260250251723

Google’s Blog says that “Image Swirl expands on technologies developed for Similar Images and Picasa Face Recognition to discern how images should be grouped together and build hierarchies out of those groups.”

The search capabilities of this new tool are expanding rapidly, now at over a quarter of a million searches.  The capabilities of the search are limited by processing time, as each “stack” and related spoke on the “wheel” are algorithmically-determined.  This takes a lot of processing power, of which Labs has a limited supply.

The tool is very cool  and fun, though.  Search for free-hand things to see what it comes up with.  In the example above, I used one of Google’s suggested searches (DaVinci drawings), but I also tried World Wrestling, lolKatz, and (of course) pizza.

We’re getting closer to that Minority Report virtual screen where grabbing and moving, manipulating, and organizing images and information as it hovers in front of us becomes normal.  Fun!


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