Thursday, June 1, 2006

Interestingness is quite interesting (to me)

Last August Flickr introduced the concept of "interestingness" for browsing through their tags to discover photos. If you‘ve played with it you know that it can be quite engaging and a wonderful way to waste a lot of time.

The other new feature is called interestingness and it's huge! A long time in the making, interestingness is a ranking algorithm based on user behavior around the photos taking into account some obvious things like how many users add the photo to their favorites and some subtle things like the relationship between the person who uploaded the photo and the people who are commenting (plus a whole bunch of secret sauce)

Last week the researchers were so kind as to share their “secret sauce”. Check out this visualization from Yahoo! Research of Flickr tags over time. Now, when I see things like this my first reaction is always, "How do they do that?", and in this case they have published their algorithms. Got to love it! When might we expect you to publish the algorithms?

This was presented at the Tagging Workshop at the WWW 2006 conference in Edinburgh last week. Lots of good reading if this is your thing.

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