Google Swirl

I am consistently excited by new developments in visual browsing and searching on the web. Google’s new development to come out of Google Labs, Google Image Swirl is very provocative and is very close to something that I have been imagining. It would be fascinating it the application could be employed on pre-curated collections of images (ie. to “Google Swirl” a collection of visual art, such as ARTstor). But first, what is Google Swirl?

As a bridging of Picasa Face Recognition and Similar Images, search results depend upon both image metadata and computer vision research. There are comparisons to Google’s Wonder Wheel (which displays search results graphically) and Visual Thesaurus. One enters a search term and 12 groupings of images appear visualized as photo stacks. One chooses a particular image and the Flash experimental interface “swirls” to display your image and branches to numerous other images with varying degrees of relationship to that image.


[cross-posted from the Digital Curation blog]

I have died and gone to heaven. Spezify “is a search tool that presents textual, graphic, and photographic results in a visual format. Blogs, videos, microblogs and images, couple with web-based versions of more traditional print media to give comprehensive search results.”

For a visual thinker that loves to scour everything from Twitter to YouTube to blogs in search of the latest from galleries, artists, conferences, scholars, designers…Spezify pools and presents information in a visual collage format. It also shows you related search terms (which may or may not be relevant – i.e. an important interntational conference for Contemporary Asian Art is going on right now – so the current search of that term brought up “hotel” as a related term.)

Like Twitter, it also shows you recent “hot” search terms. Spezify displays the information in a giant visual wall that you can scroll in all dimensions. Via Twitter, Cooliris told me that there is a way that I can d/l their program even though I have a PowerPC Mac mini. This weekend I will do so and see if Spezify’s search results can be navigated on the visual wall of Cooliris. This would make for faster and improved scanning functionality.


imported post from Digital Curation blog
Cooliris, is a 3-D image wall that allows you to visually browse images, whether they be in Google Image, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Picassa, images in one’s harddrive and recent versions of the photo database program Adobe Lightroom.

I was sad to discover that I could not download this program to my own Mac Mini as it features Mac OX 10.4, Power PC, and apparently I cannot upgrade to the necessary Leopard version that supports Cooliris. Update: Previous versions (tho unsupported) are available.

You can share your 3-D image wall through a url, as well as bookmark and save it. It allows one to “jump freely” through Flickr image pools and sets – though not sure how that differs from the current way we maneuver from image pools to sets – does “jump freely” = “move fluidly?” Not sure.

It claims usability with hundreds of sites due to its being built around Media RSS format. It advertises its ability to be used to view numerous television and movie episodes on Hulu, etc. Its slideshow feature allows one to double click and launch slide shows that one can pause and rewind. It claims to have the fastest way online to search images with its’ style of “zipping” through the 3-D image wall.

Again this makes me think back to the Visible Archive from Australia – and its archival metadata visualization. If there was a way to integrate these technologies and allow one to browse visualizations of data – the future could be very exciting.