web An amazing thing: search by drawing

Retrievr is a tool to search Flickr photos based on what they look like, in a very general way. You have to draw “slabs” or “areas” of color; details like facial features or shadows aren’t going to work. What seems obvious to the human eye will not be obvious to this search, because we identify things we see based on what they are instead of what they look like and in three dimensions instead of two. But once you get it, it’s amazing.

I am blown away by how cool this is and how well it actually does work.

I drew this just now. I was imagining a centered subject on grass in front of a blue sky.


Among the images Retrievr found for me were these. Damn close. That first one is uncanny.
 10 19532786 3352Dec04E  12 16848079 0F9Eb86166  23 30013101 0A28C728A6

Then I drew this, thinking of my well-known Needle Tower picture.

And I got these. I love this thing.
 8 7746241 Aaea25746A  21 36811286 F08Bc61F84

I am also gratified to find that my photo of Needle Tower is the first Google result for “Needle Tower” that isn’t a page about the sculptor himself. Fourth overall. I’m fourth in Google for something that isn’t my name. That’s really cool.