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Google Image Labeler and Tom Sawyer

Google Image Labeler and Tom Sawyer

by Frank Roche on September 5, 2006

in Cool, Simplicity

Tom Sawyer CoverI’m on my way to being addicted to Google Image Labeler. Be careful, if you click on that link you may be too. I’m up to 8,800 “points,” but I’m really waiting to get a great partner and move to the head of the “Today’s Top Pairs” list. Here’s how Google describes this “game” that gets people like me to spend 90 seconds at a pop labeling pictures for Google. (Oh, the exquisite Tom Sawyer-ness of it all.)

You’ll be randomly paired with a partner who’s online and using the feature. Over a 90-second period, you and your partner will be shown the same set of images and asked to provide as many labels as possible to describe each image you see. When your label matches your partner’s label, you’ll earn some points and move on to the next image until time runs out. After time expires, you can explore the images you’ve seen and the websites where those images were found. And we’ll show you the points you’ve earned throughout the session.

Games work. The Google Image Labeler satisfies a need for Google – they need humans to look at thousands of pictures and label them. They need the wisdom of the masses. And games satisfy a need for people (okay, me) to play. (I wonder if there’s a gender difference in who’s willing to play the game). And like a modern day Tom Sawyer, Google got me to paint a fence…and like it. There might even be an HR lesson or two in there. Need something done? Make it a game.

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