Google Images

How do we graphically define concepts?  Google Images attempts to do it for us.

Most people search and simply are satisfied with the text results.  However, one of the many other types of search results that exist now are the “images” that google has been indexing for quite some time.  It can represent quite a bit of traffic for a website including be one of the top reasons why a website gets traffic.  I wrote a 3 year+ blog in Korea when I was experimenting with the results of a blog and found that the #1 traffic source was this silly image of a dog with a bunch of porcupine quills in it’s face.  It would produce hundreds of hits daily.  

So, I thought I’d run an experiment here today and see what google tells me what each of the searches mean – in terms of images.

This is what I get back when I search “happiness”.


So, what does “sultry” mean to you?  Well, supposedly this is what “sultry” means to Google at least and maybe to us in the world?


How about “famous movie stars?”  I think of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.  And Google backs me up on this one, but Kal Penn of “Harold and Kumar” fame?  I wouldn’t of thunk…

famous movie stars

So, you can tell google hasn’t refined their image search algorithm to be perfect quite yet.  Then again, I guess this post begs the question, but how does google rank their images?  Well, here’s some details from the New York Times about their efforts in ranking images.   And if you want more details or secrets about google’s images ranking algorithm, you can go to their official blog and read articles/posts like this one that describes how google sorts images by subject.  Also, you can search within their blog to see the articles on their images search – just type in “images” in the search field in the top right corner.

Oh, so why did I even decide to write this post about google images and how they define what we think about in life visually?

Well, I was looking up “Top Images” in their database of pictures and this is what I got:

Top Kpop Star

So, these are primarily images of “Top” from the Kpop boy band “Big Bang”.  It’s not what I was thinking of “top images”, but it shows that there are a lot of people online these days who do think that “top” is more important than even the concept of “top images” these days.  At least that’s what google is allowing us to define what “top images” means.


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