Wolfram's Latest IDs What's In Your Photos
At least, it tries to...
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 17, 2015 8:23 AM CDT
ImageIdentify will tell you what's in a photo. Well, it'll try.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

(Newser) – You probably can already identify the contents of most of your photos, but this is still fun. A new website from Stephen Wolfram, whom you may know from the search tool WolframAlpha, lets you drag and drop any photo; it will then in theory identify what's in it. Right now, ImageIdentify manages some impressive feats, the Verge reports: For instance, it was able to tell that a picture of a cow was a black angus. On the other hand, it thought a cupcake was a bottle cap. The Wolfram Language team is happy to acknowledge the mistakes. In a blog post, Wolfram notes that "somehow the errors seemed very understandable, and in a sense very human. It seemed as if what ImageIdentify was doing was successfully capturing some of the essence of the human process of identifying images."

In the meantime, it does have some practical uses: At PC World, Jared Newman writes that "using the site, I was able to figure the breed of dog that kept following my wife and I around on our honeymoon (miniature pinscher) and the exact type of flower from a hike in Los Angeles (larkspur)." And we can expect ImageIdentify to get better at its job, since it keeps copies of the images you post and learns from them; its abilities come from the study of tens of millions of pictures, Wolfram says. You can also tell the site whether its analysis was correct. It's not the only such system, the Verge notes, pointing to efforts like Google Goggles. (What would it say about this smiley face in space?)