Google Image Labeler Is a Great Time Waster

Google Image Labeler isn’t that new of a service anymore, but I wanted to write a post about it so anyone who hasn’t heard of it yet gets the chance to play with it.

You can start the game either as a Guest, or if you’re logged in, you can create a nickname for better score keeping.

Once you hit the “Start Labeling” button, you’re randomly paired up with someone else online. You’ll both have two minutes to start labeling the same sets of pictures with tags that you believe describe what the images show.

Google Image Labeler

If you’re labels match your partners, you’ll get some points, the amount depending on how specific your labels are.

Once you start playing, you’ll be able to start making guesses, but there’ll be a list of phrases that you can’t use. I don’t know if you’re penalized for accidentally using them though.

I typed ’em several times, because I was just trying to make as many guesses as I could before the time ran out.

When the game’s over, you’ll get to see how many points your team scored and what your partners guesses were for the same images.

google-image-labeler-final-score

I think it’s a lot of fun and at the same time you’re helping Google provide better image results. 🙂

Google Hot Trends May Be Misleading

Demi Moore Bush Hot Trends

If you take a look at Google Hot Trends today, you’ll see that the top result is “Demi Moore Bush.” So what do you expect that’s about? Probably something not safe for work, I’d assume.

But after digging in to the results on Hot Trends, related searches are “demi moore”, “comedy central,” and “demi moore george bush.”

Then if you look in the news articles section, you see some mentions of “The Billy Bush Show” and then something about Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore broadcasting their Super Bowl predictions.

Hmmm, nothing seems to correlate here.

I don’t see why people would be searching for “Demi Moore Bush” when looking for the news article about the Billy Bush Show and I can’t find any news about Demi Moore visiting George Bush or his father.

Now if you look at the search results, you’ll see that there is definitely some not safe for work web pages here.

Maybe some TV or radio show mentioned something about some old photos Demi Moore took when she was young, and everyone started searching like crazy, because the first result from “downtownalleys” certainly makes a point.

You know what? Maybe Google Hot Trends isn’t misleading after all. 😉

Google Suggest Out of Beta, Now On Google.com

Google Suggest

Have you been to Google today? If you do a search, you might notice that once you begin typing, Google automatically starts providing real-time suggestions, as well as how many results each of those keywords have. This option, Google Suggest, was previously available as a Google Labs opt-in but it’s now gonna be default for all of your Google searches. According to the Official Google Blog, everyone might not have this functionality yet, but it should be available within the week. It shows up for me off and on right now.

If you notice the results they provide though, they seem to be only showing very popular queries. Will this hurt sales coming in from long-tail searches? I guess it depends on how closely searchers look through the list, but I’m leaning towards yes. How much traffic it really takes away from a site though will probably be minimal. It’s a really helpful service to searchers, though, I have to give ’em that. I like it.

Been to YouTube? Get Ready for a Lawsuit

Prison Fence and Razorwire

It seems that the judge presiding over the federal court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Louis L. Stanton has made one of the most idiotic decisions in the history of the internet. And guess who’s gonna take the flak? That’s right, it’s you.

Judge Stanton has ordered Google to give Viacom all of the IP addresses of any user who has ever viewed YouTube videos on the massively popular video sharing site. If Viacom is looking for such data, it’s obvious that they want to go after the people who’ve watched their videos, and will very likely take legal action. If you want more information about this horrible decision check out a much more detailed story over at Mashable.

VH1 Must Have Had an Impact On YouTube

YouTube Annotation
If you’ve ever watched VH1, you’ve likely seen those shows where there are pop-ups that show while a music video is being played. They usually contain funny or interesting facts about the artist or band. Well, it looks like YouTube would like you to have the opportunity to create your own videos like that, by adding video annotations functionality. This will let you add text bubbles to anywhere you want within the video which can show up at the desired time of your choosing.

If you want to set this up on one of your own videos, just log in to your YouTube account, choose a video and select the “Edit Annotations” button. You’ll be able to select from three different options which are speech bubbles, notes, and highlights. So head on over and make your videos more interesting.

Google Video Sitemap Introduced

If you own your own site, you’ve likely had the great fortune of keeping a sitemap.xml up to date. Well, now you have the great fortune of keeping a video sitemap up-to-date. Sorry for the sarcasm, it’s just been a tedious process for me in the past, especially when I come from an SEO agency in which I had to manage more than 70 clients at a time.

A video sitemap is actually a great idea.

Hopefully, most likely actually, all of the other search engines out there will follow suit and will begin to adopt this new feature. We’ll all still have to submit our videos to sites like YouTube, but now we can really get some visibility for the stuff the search engines can’t usually find.

Learn more about creating a video sitemap from Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.

Google Maps Gets Even Better

Google has been making so many great updates to their services, it’s hard to keep up, but of course, they’ve done it again. The service of interest this time is Google Maps.

Google has now added some new functionality to their already awesome app, Google Maps. If you do a search, you may find the results showing Google Book search results, photos from Panaramio (if they have been geo-tagged), and even videos from YouTube. I’ve also noticed photos being pulled from credit.net which is owned by InfoUSA, so if you don’t already have a listing with InfoUSA, which you should, I definitely recommend you do that right away.

If you want an example of the photos from Panoramio, go to Google and make sure you are zoomed way out so that they don’t make the results localized. Then do a search for “Irelands biggest waterfall”. I pulled in a result for Irelands biggest waterfall.

Photo Results in Google Maps

If you want to see how they are using video, do a search for “sky diving in Greensboro”. If you watch this video, you also get an awesome bonus song that is sure to put you in a happy mood.

YouTube videos in Google Maps

On a post on the Google Lat Long Blog, they mentioned that you can find book results by searching for “Christmas books in Jerusalem”.

Book Results in Google Maps

As you can see, the photo results and video results need a little work, but it is brand new, so you can expect Google to fiddle around a bit before they get it to a more usable state. With options like saving your own maps with custom locations, sending maps to your phone, the ability to change the marker of your business to the exact location, “Street View”, traffic info, and now these new abilities, I just can’t imagine how much more Google will pack into this great service in the future.

Google Adding New Feature to Adwords

Google Adwords PlusBox
When you are searching the natural listings in Google, have you ever noticed a PlusBox under the listing? These are normally used for either a Google Map or a YouTube video.

It’s a pretty cool function actually.

Google has decided to include this feature in their Adwords system. If you choose to have this PlusBox show with your ads, you can choose to show your geographical information, which includes a map, address, driving instructions, and phone number. You aren’t charged anything extra either.

If you are using local business ads already, this feature is already enabled. This is a great idea, except for one thing. The only way to get the PlusBox to show up is if you have the top listing. So, if you are in a very competitive industry, good luck. Looks like Google has created another way to try to get people to spend more money. The feature is being added as we speak so expect to see it in your account soon.

Google Making Street View Anonymous

In an attempt to protect the privacy of those who have been captured on Google Street View doing something embarrassing, Google has announced that they will be blurring out all faces in the service, along with license plate numbers. This will start when the Street View service launches in Europe and they have stated that they are thinking about doing the same with the U.S. version.

Google Street View Gif

That will take the fun out of sites like Street View Hotties. I guess I can make that kind of comment until I’m caught doing something embarrassing. What am I saying? I don’t do anything that could get me in trouble. Heh.