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.