Google Images search has two huge advantages over other image search engines: it operates the largest database on the web and it is getting smarter by the day. Apart from serving as a great source of content for your website, Google Images can be a powerful tool to find inspiration and spur creativity.
1. Google Image Inspiration: Dreamlines
Dreamlines is an interesting project that deserves more recognition that it seems to be getting.
Just enter a couple of words that describe the topic you need inspiration for and wait for the tool “to generate an ambiguous painting, in perpetual change, where elements fuse into one another, in a process analogous to memory and free association“.
The tool uses Google Images Search to retrieve the images but in fact you’ll never see an actual image. What you will see is a dream:
The program generates a personal moving picture, unique, unpredictable, and forever gone when it is finished, just like dreams. But that dream is made out of pieces taken form the subconscious of the whole net, gathered by some words of the user and the obscure logic of searching algorithms.
It is both well-said and well-performed. I wish it could be turned into a video clip or screen saver because it looks too beautiful: try it yourself and see! And it does inspire a creative eye by letting you forget about everything and dive into the new abstract world of Dreamlines:
I was very much tempted to make hundreds of screenshots.
2. Google Image Art: Montage-a-Google
Montage-a-Google is a more straightforward project than the above one: it lets you create large, colorful montages using Google’s image search.
According to the creator, it allows for both an alternative, fun way to browse the Web and to create desktop wallpaper or even posters on the topic that inspires you.
Here’s my winter montage, for example:
And here are some posters created by the users:
3. Google Image Games: Guess-the-Google
Guess-the-Google is another project by the same developer as the Montage-a-Google project we have just covered. It offers a fun and somewhat addictive game to get your brain working.
The tool shows you a collection of images and you should quickly guess the search term that triggered the collection:
It turns the mental activity of searching into a fun, visual and engaging game where people can enjoy the challenge of being the fastest and most efficient at making that connection between search terms and their results.
4. Google Image Designs: Google House
Google House is an interesting concept offering you a chance to build a house using Google Images. It builds unpredictable, dynamic image collages using your house-related search queries.
I am not sure about the practical application of this one but it certainly offers a fun and addictive experience.
5. Honorable Mention: Google Swirl
A post about Google Images Search visualizations would be incomplete without including the official Google Labs project: [NO LONGER WORKS] Google Image Swirl – it is more search-related than any of the projects listed above but it does spur creativity by creating and visualizing the structure of results based on their visual and semantic similarities.
Think of this as a huge family tree for images on the Internet: by clicking on images, more subsequent circles and related images are created.
For example, in ambiguous queries such as “machine”, Image Swirl separates the top search results into categories such as “automation”, “computers”, “robotics”, etc.
Are you aware of any interesting Google Image Search visualization projects? Please share them in the comments!