Friday, September 21, 2007

Ways to Waste Time with Google

I don't know that any of us need to waste any more time. But just in case you do, here are two things I recently discovered that Google and its co-brands are trying to seduce us with.

First is Blogger Play: It's basically a stream of photos that have recently been uploaded to various blogs hosted by Blogger. You can read more about it here. It's fun to jsut sit back and think about what people might be saying with or about these images.

Second is Google Image Labeler: This is an interesting game-like application. Basically you are given a series of photos and asked to provide descriptive labels for them. You have 2 minutes to label as many photos as possible. The catch is that you are working simultaneously and blindly with a partner. You don't get to move on until you both match a label. The more descriptive your matched label is, the more points you get. At the end of the time, you get to see your partner's suggestions and the ones you matched with. Your score accumulates and--if you were to play long enough--you could have one of the top spots. So why is this out here? It's basically helping Google refine their image search, giving them agreed upon labels for particular images. Smart.

What I find interesting about both of these applications is the way that user-created content (uploaded photos and photos the Google Bots find across the web) becomes the object of attention in a way that differs (slightly, in the case of the first, and more so, in the case of the second) from other Web 2.0 sites such as Flickr or YouTube.


Wayne said...

The idea of learning objects (or in our case, digital learning objects) is one that has been floating around higher-ed for over six years now. As you have discovered, the tools we have (thanks in part to Google) provide for easy creation of these objects. You touched on the key aspect of making these individual objects more usable. Creating metadata (a la the Google name game) for these objects not only allows them to be used and reused, it provides the base information needed to incorporate them into other, more complex learning objects. The plan is, as more and more of these get combined, they can become part of a digital repository.

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