Flickr trends highlighted via Google-based app

A Google App Engine service shows the relative popularity of Flickr photo tags over time. Good vs. evil. Yankees vs. Mets. Kittens vs. sunsets. Let the games begin!

What do you do when you can use the Internet to data-mine a collection of billions of photos ?

Find out whether cats are more popular than dogs, of course. Or whether good outdoes evil. Or the Yankees beat the Mets.

The FlickrTrends application takes advantage first of the API (application programming interface) at Yahoo's photo-sharing site, Flickr, which can show how many photos have been tagged with a particular word over a period of time. Second, it uses Google App Engine to present the relative popularity of two tags in chart form to show what's waxing and waning.

FlickrTrends shows relatively popularity of two terms over time.
FlickrTrends shows relatively popularity of two terms over time. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Flickr employee Kellan Elliott-McCrea wrote the application, deriving it from another by Derek Gottfrid that compares how often terms are mentioned in The New York Times. The idea came to broader light on Wednesday with a posting on the Flickr Code blog.

By showing usage over time, the application shows come seasonal curiosities. For example, it appears that people consider summer and winter each to be longer than spring and fall.

Flickr fans quickly embraced the tool this week to run a variety of comparisons, including some photography-specific ones such as bokeh vs. HDR and Canon vs. Nikon.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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