Nice meditation on the role photo sites and tagging might have on the future of image search.
One of the powerful aspects of owning a top photo sharing site is the possibility to own image search in the future. Microsoft, Google, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo! all have extremely mediocre image search.
Search for a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge on Google image search and see what you get — super mediocre images of a great photographic subject. By owning an online photo sharing site Microsoft could use user online ranking data to prioritize image search and make MSN image search the clear leader. Although image search is a much smaller subset than text search it would be a powerful toehold in the Google dominated world.
Although I have not seen this type of thing appear at Yahoo! yet (and with the strong grass roots community spirit at Flickr you’d probably need user buy in and even a possible opt in approach) I suspect you may see it in the future. Yahoo! has a huge leg up owning Flickr.
2 thoughts on “Hawk on Image Search and Photo Sites”
Interestingly enough I’ve seen similar funcitonality on Shutterpoint.com which is a great stock photography site. Members of the site upload images for sale and rate them based on the quality (according to their personla views). Image search developed by Shutterpoint takes into account the ratings provided by users and keywords when returning the search results which during my tests performed very well.
Of course, image tagging asks for an idea of image search site. On one hand you have a great community of people sharing their photos and talking about them – and it’s good to have activity, it brings life to the site, on the other hand you somehow need to surf through and search for the “best” photos in all this insane quantity of photos.
It’s “smart” to show the image search results on site other than the main photo share site but is it fair to merely show those pictures? I wouldn’t like my photos to be taken by somebody from the search engine without reading my description and all the comments my friends leave.
Probably, it’s better to have photo share site with _advanced_ and _smart_ search and promote the site for both terms.