by tom moodyComments Off on Google animated image search; Rosemarie Trockel on Google Images search
Google recently added "animated" as a filter to its Images search (hat tip @ohgod).
Two years ago, the lack of this feature was seen by some as a diss of animated GIFs, or at least Google's misplaced belief that the GIF had waned in Net culture such that it didn't need to be searched.
Around the time we were arguing over the question "why are artists interested in animated GIFs?" in Paddy Johnson's blog comments, GIFs became a "thing," mostly for rips of movie and TV clips used as conversational sweeteners. They always had that function but for some reason around 2008 or so it became de rigeuer (including by me) to say that GIFs were a dotcom era vestige.
Artists had reasons for keeping them alive and we had no right to complain that Google wasn't helping us, but nevertheless, we did complain.
In looking at the available filters now in Google Images, there are five main categories, none of which cover anything we might call "fine art." Recognition algorithms seem to be corralling images into one or more of the five categories.
The classifications (under "search tools" and "type") are: face, photo, clip art, line drawing, and animated.
Let's see how they work with a museum certified type artist, say, Rosemarie Trockel. Face - many pictures of her face Photo - many photos of her work but also the work itself, which includes line drawings Clip art - whoa, Ms. Trockel is not in the clip art business! Nor is any other artist trying to sell originals for thousands of dollars. Google mostly looks for graphics here, with clean lines and especially borders - including photos of some of Trockel's minimal or monochrome style works. Whoops. Line drawing - some of her works on paper, and much stuff that isn't hers. Animated - not too much here. Someone on Tumblr made a GIF from a documentary vimeo (nice one but, still, Trockel is not in the GIF production business either). "Animated" means animated image files, as opposed to video files, so this is not an archive of her video art.