Mute Math, Yahoo, and Flickr

I know there has been some rustlings about Yahoo's inclusion of Flickr into its image search. But today something happened that hasn't in a very long time – I found myself proactively going to Yahoo Image Search to find something, because my default – Google – didn't have it….

Mute Math 2

I know there has been some rustlings about Yahoo’s inclusion of Flickr into its image search. But today something happened that hasn’t in a very long time – I found myself proactively going to Yahoo Image Search to find something, because my default – Google – didn’t have it.

Mute Math

I was telling my son, who shares my love of music, about seeing Mute Math at Bonnaroo last month. It was an amazing show, with the lead singer flinging himself about the stage, the ultimate finale being a spread eagle belly flop into a bank of lights behind the band. I wanted to show Ian what I was talking about.

Mute Math in Concert“, I asked Google.

Good, but not, well, right.

Then I remembered that Yahoo had integrated Flickr into its results. I was somehow certain that through Flickr, I would see what I wanted to see.

And I was right. It was exactly what I expected to see. And then I could dive into a ton of Flickr streams and really show my son what I saw.

Nice work, Yahoo.

11 thoughts on “Mute Math, Yahoo, and Flickr”

  1. What they get wrong is privacy.
    I post pictures for friends and family to see. I don’t want to inconvenience these people and force them to sign up with Flickr logins just to see the photos. My only option in Flickr is to make them “public” rather than private.

    However, I don’t necessarily want the photos indexed and searchable. It seems we’re missing the equivalent of a “robots.txt” option for my images. Like my website, yes, it’s public but using robots.txt I can at least control who indexes it (at least the ethical bots that bother to read robots.txt)

    I’m not sure what the state of the art in facial recognition technology is but I know of companies lining up to index and link public images in ways I find concerning. Now I know why my kids insist on pulling silly faces when I take a photo!

  2. Mark, you might want to check out Guest Passes on Flickr:

    They allow you to make photos private but allow guest access for people without forcing them to create a login. They get a special URL to access your set without the need to make the images public.

    If you want to share private photos with people, use a Guest Pass. You can grant anyone access to the entire contents of one of your sets, including any private photos it contains. A Guest Pass is actually just that URL. This means that whoever sees that URL can access the set and all the photos inside it.

  3. I dunno, John — I see Google with precisely the pictures you’re talking about. I mean:

    Gives me this of the guy flinging himself on stage, right?

    And plenty of others. Don’t get me wrong — the Yahoo results are much better, primarily because they are giving you multiple images from the same site (Google will give you one image per site) and because the Flickr pictures overall are dominating.

  4. Danny – Google will eventually index most of Yahoo’s Flickr images. The difference is that Yahoo’s search index is updated much faster since it has direct access to Flickr. Google has to do a manual crawl.

  5. Mark, you can also specify that you don’t want your pictures available for public search by setting the appropriate “Flag this photo” option on each image page as well as setting the “Hide your photos from public search” behavior to Yes on the Privacy & Permissions tab of Your Account. I’m not sure if the latter option applies to all of your photos or only new ones that you upload; I assume all, but I could be wrong.

  6. John –

    Thank you for bringing this to light and commenting on it. Flickr gives Yahoo an advantage on image search at this point because of its large user-base amongst active photographers and artists. I don’t think picasa has quite the userbase, but I could be wrong. And, I’m not even sure that Google integrates picasa into it’s image search. So I see that Yahoo’s image search, with Flickr results may be much more comprehensive over the long term.

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