Long-time readers of my blog will know that I am no fan of the perspicacity and wisdom of the powers-that-be at Flickr and their Yahoo masters. This is despite the fact that I have been a Flickr member since 2005, with at last glance a 5,647,849 view count on Flickr. A case in point I wrote about fairly recently is Flickr’s foolishly implemented attempt to venture into photo licensing (see Flickr and me, and stock photography: Adventures in Licensing in the Internet Era and The worst mistake you can make with customers).
The latest Flickr foray into egregious idiocy comes with a Flickr site redesign. In all fairness, the redesign is actually pretty attractive and functional. The problem is with a feature that Flickr implemented, namely auto-tagging of one’s photos. A software robot analyzes images, and adds tags. The point of course is to make searching easier, because search engines mostly use words, not visuals. The problem is that the Flickr’s robot isn’t all that good at recognizing subject matter.
For example, Passion for Petals Painterly, the image shown above, created using photography of flowers, Photoshop, and Topaz Impressions is tagged on Flickr (opens in new tab, scroll down to see the tags) “pastel”, “drawing”, and “food”—a perfect trifecta of tagging error since none of the tags are correct.
The problems with the tagging feature could be chalked up to it being an early software version. Obviously, automated image recognition software is a hard challenge. But my frustration stems from the fact that there is no way to turn this feature off globally. I take a great deal of care with my work, and I really don’t like it being tagged incorrectly. To remove the incorrect tags from my images on Flickr, and there are many of them, would mean going through my photos one-by-one and clicking the little X above each errant tag. No thank you!