Monthly Archives: July 2012

Testing Google Image Search

When tasked with the adventure of trying to find new spinning light flashers (subject items on hand), words simply fail.

Light Chaser

Across the Twitterverse, I’ve heard rumor of the image search capabilities Google is expanding and slowly deploying.  Other apps, like Leafsnap, let you take care of taking a picture (in this case plant-life) so you can do a search via image.  Google Image allows you to search by words, by uploading an image, or by providing the URL for an image to help you with your search.  So, can Google Image Search with its Search by Image function save the day?

Google Search by Image interface

Well, my technological swiss army knife (my iPhone) could photograph the image, could connect to Google Image, but the Javascript camera icon failed to offer any search options other than via text.  Even my iPad lacks the option to complete the search by image. Okay, so let me try and upload my image to Flickr (since it was taken with my phone) as a public image so I can try and paste a URL.  Nope – “The URL doesn’t refer to an image, or the image is not publicly accessible.”  Alright, so let me download the image to my computer and then upload/drag-and-drop the file.  So, did all of this hard work pay off with successful search results?

Google Image search results via Image upload
Google Image search results via Image upload

I have to say not.  Dear Google – keep working on it but I very much look forward to your awesome results.

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Understanding your role as an information producer

One of the bigger shifts in information literacy instruction is the shift from the consumer-only perspective to the consumer-and-producer point of view.  The original ACRL information literacy standard in 2000 lacked this producer point of view but I’ve gradually seen other literacies incorporate those perspectives.  In late 2011, ACRL’s Visual Literacy standard marks the first inclusion of this concept in an ACRL standard.  In my previous work as an information literacy/competency course instructor, I often used the producer-paradigm to help flip the dry concepts of plagiarism, copyright, and intellectual property around so students engaged with how they wanted their work to be valued and appreciated.  Over the last few weeks, I see this content-producer component growing into a more imperative lifelong skill, as marketing agents are learning to track what you produce to affect your experiences in person and on the web.  In particular, I would note British Airways’ “Know Me” program that involves the distribution of iPads to crew members so they can Google passengers prior to their flight, allowing crew to recognize them (mostly VIPs or frequent travelers) on sight.  While privacy experts question the policy, there doesn’t seem to be any actual violation, just a general ick factor.  At the same time, for the young high schoolers or college kids, could you imagine your flight attendant stumbling across your old Homecoming tail-gating party photo?  AWK-WARD.  Also, Orbitz has found a way to use the type of computer you are using (this data is generally gathered via automatically downloaded and installed cookies) to predict the prices you are willing to pay for a hotel room.  While I am rather Mac-centric, I would not conclude that I am of the more-costly-room-variety.  Heck, I hosteled my way around Europe just fine with my first Mac.  However, these changes, generally not publicly disclosed or announced at first, are changing the information you and I get from the Internet.  While these topics are starting to pop up into the media stream, I thought these might be interesting examples for your info lit instructors out there to help supplement your curriculum.