Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reverse Image Search Engine - A Technological Wonder

Cross posting from my Quiz Blog as this will be of interest to everyone, not limited to quizzers.

Hello Quizzards,

First I would like to take this rare opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the constant support and encouragement that keeps infusing a fresh lease of life into Inquizzitive, time and again!

When I started this blog, in December of 2005, I knew my biggest challenge was my employer. Yes Google. No, they didn't have a problem with my maintaining a little known trivia blog. It's just that Google had killed the joy of online quizzing as any 'dry' text question would just be copied, pasted into the Google search bar and voila you had the answer staring at you in the snippet of search results 1, 2 or at most 3. A big win for Google, a big blow to online quizzing.

That's what prompted me to start the pictorial connection of quizzing in Inquizzitive. However, I always knew that this format too would be 'cracked' one day, and the tool that would help in doing so would be a RISE (reverse image search engine). Yes, a search engine where you can somehow upload an image and it magically tells you what the image is. I knew it was a few years away, how many I didn't know. Today I do.

A friend and fellow quizzer, KingM (he prefers to be a little anonymous online) answered today's 'very tough' question by first looking for a RISE and then by using it smartly to get the clues. When I learnt about this, I was quite shell shocked and wanted to get into denial by moderating his comment where he has mentioned the product. Then I realised what a brilliant technological advancement this is and instead of trying to suppress information and innovation (in vain) let me introduce you to TinEye.

Let's say we take this picture of Mahatma Gandhi from this Wikipedia article.

Now let's assume you

1) know the url from where I took this image and
2) You just have the image but not the url

All you need to do is go to www.tineye.com and in case of

1) Just paste the url  or 2) just upload the picture in the search field and the reverse search engine will throw up a result as shown below

Yes, it's that simple!

As of now it has some teething problems, and doesn't recognise all images as smoothly as it should but I am sure in the coming days this will become a technology as solid and reliable as search is today. As a technology enthusiast I applaud this achievement! As the owner of Inquizzitive, I take this up as a challenge to continue giving you questions that will keep you engaged in spite of the new tools at hand!

With that I introduce TinEye, the RISE to you! Go ahead, play with it!


Suman Paul said...

Seriously I was looking for such a search engine today.. but i guess i missed the key words.."reverse image search".. inquizzitive question was sure the inspiration to such thoughts...

Abhishek said...

I tried a few picture searches and I am absolutely shocked by the results. This is incredible. The good thing is a lot of less knowledgeable folks can try your Inquizzitive questions. This in turn would mean greater hits for your blog. What that would mean in turn - I leave it to you. Thanks for introducing the tool to you and KingM

Piyush Goel said...

Hats off to you & "KINGM" for sharing such a wonderful information.I searched a lot of images and the result was simply amazing. Thankss a lot :)

Anonymous said...

Suman, actually, you don't need to use "reverse image search" to find it. I simply went used the keywords "image search", and it was the 4th result in Google (which Suhel knows I consider to be an evil empire!). So it must be well known already. One of you mentioned it's been a secret weapon among quizzards for a while. I could have joined that conspiracy of silence to keep Suhel in the dark but felt that I should level your playing field :)

I suggested to Suhel that he embraces the enemy (the reaper) than fight a losing battle, so kudos to him for making that adjustment quickly.

As ways of introduction, I headed up the school quiz team a decade before Suhel did. Same school, but quizzing was not as organized in my day. Gallivanted around the world ever since, a nomad.

I chanced upon this blog after years - let's see, might stick around to see what SB comes up with. But I'm easily distracted and may not visit for another 2 years :)

I know this seems like heresy, but I think the foundation of our self-esteem is crumbling! We quizzards used to think that we're better than anyone else (Bengali: "atel"s) because we were amassing these tidbits of "useless" knowledge. While they may assist in honing our pattern recognition skills, the utility of just having a lot of general knowledge is much lower now. It's an antiquated skill, just good for party tricks (yes, impressing some women, unless they think you've been mugging up wikipedia like a geek instead of actually reading widely!).

What will matter more in the years and decades to come are skills to find relevant knowledge quickly (search instead of memory skills), and applying/integrating it intelligently to solve problems and predict future events.

Knowing more is quite useless if it can't tell you what will happen or solve something that has social utility :) I'd rather listen to an amateur expert or clairvoyant who has been right 75% of the time over 20 trials, than an expert who knows everything there is to know about the subject but is right only 25% of the time. Wouldn't you?


Vinod said...

guys, as a regular quizzer I just need to put across one thing here..

you can run 100m in less that the WR if you practice for "x" number of years...but if you take steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, you can do that in "x/y" number of years.

I consider quizzing a sport...and like every honest sports person I have the choice to decide whether I need to use Tin-Eye to win an online quiz or just my brains..

Technologies/Steroids would come, but let's try to make quizzing a dope-free sport.

Unknown said...

ultimate sir......... really nice.....