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A new way to search images: by arrangement

sat18feb2006—07w049d13%— 11h50m00s—0utc

This is fantastic: a cool website that specializes in selling royalty-free stock photos, iStockPhoto, has created a new way to search through their whole catalog: by arrangement. They call it ColorSpace, and is wonderfully simple, yet powerful. It consists of a 3×3 grid of squares. You change the color of each square to indicate what you want in that area: green, if you want it clear; red, if you want it occupied; grey, if it’s the same to you.

It works. If, for instance, you search for “flower” with this colorspace, , you get:

Or if you search for “sky” with this colorspace, , you get:

The star here is not only the algorithm but the clever, information-design interface.

Overall, it’s a very impressive site, its web developers really do care about it, and that’s always refreshing. The weirdest thing is that they’ve convinced me that selling royalty-free stock photos on the web makes perfect sense…

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