December 06, 2007
What's better: Google Images or Flickr?
Google Images was developed in December 2001. It is a free service brought to you by Google that allows users to use keywords to search for images on the entire visible web. The site does not require any registration or information about the user.
How Images are Found:
To begin an image search, a user must develop a unique query to effectively use the search engine. One the search is entered, Google Images returns a page with the results. Each result shows a thumbnail of the image, a short description, image size, and the website where the image can be found. Google Images searches the filename, text pointing to the image, and text adjacent to the image to index each image and allow it to be searchable.
I have to admit, I use Google Images for almost every image search that I do. It provides very precise results and allows users to see a variety of image types. Glancing through the first 100 results for the query "hat", it looked like 85-90% were relevant. The benefit of being a subsidiary of one of the best companies in the world (Google) obviously has its benefits, and those benefits are portrayed though Google Images.
One of my favorite features is the frame that pops up after clicking the thumbnail. Having this frame allows users to easily get back to the search results, while still allowing them get the context of the image and obtain a bigger picture if necessary.
Another feature that makes Google Images my preferred image search engine is the standard Google interface that I am very familiar with.
Google's Advanced search engine is another beneficial feature. It allows users to narrow down their results based on content, size, filetype, coloration, domain, and filtering options.
Flickr is a web based photo sharing platform. Its popularity has surged since February of 2004 due to the strong support by bloggers because of the online community tools that allows users to tag and browse photos by folksomic means. Registration is required to upload pictures but not view them. A simple Yahoo! account gives you full access to the site.Yahoo! Acquired Flickr in March 2005 and used it to replace their outdated Yahoo! Photos.
How Images are Found:
Unlike Google Images, Flickr has multiple ways to find images. The first is similar to Google Images. You enter a query on the home page and are directed to a result page with a thumbnail and along with the image name, date of upload, author, and tags. The second way to find images is click on a tag and view all the images in the category on a page similar to the search one.
I have found Flickr to be more useful when you do not have a specific image in mind that you are looking for. Here is a sample situation: you decide you want to use a picture of something (person, dog, anything) jumping, you aren't really sure what you want it to look like, just a cool looking picture. You would either search for jump of click on the jump tag to see all the cool pictures offered. I also do not think you would be looking for "official" pictures (logos, ads) because of the user generated content.
The best feature of this site is the social networking that it allows. It allows user to upload personal photos, blog with others, tag photos, create collections, have favorite, make contacts, and join groups through your user created profile.
Flickr also allows users to switch photos that they had on Yahoo! Photos over due to the merger of the two.
Flickr also allows users to edit and print their pictures using the Picnik feature. The final cool feature is the Organizr feature. It is what allows users to modify the tags, descriptions, and groupings of their pictures. It also allows users to place their pictures on a world map to show either where they have come from or what they are of. Flickr would not be the same without it.
While both Google and Yahoo provide great products, Google seems to have the edge in image searching. Flickr seems to focus more on the social aspect of photos and not so much the search and it seems to take away from the ability to find useful images. In Google Images, you get what you are expecting. Enough said. And that makes it better.
Posted by adamcole at December 6, 2007 07:51 PM