Wall Street Journal on Retrievr Mashup

In today's Wall Street Journal is "Back to the Drawing Board" by Aaron Rutkoff, a "Time Waster" piece that gives a good, detailed report on Retrievr, one of my favorite Flickr mashups. The experimental project uses the Flickr API to let you search for images by drawing them. Use a set of standard paintbox-type tools to pick your color and brush size, then draw. Within a few seconds it comes back with thumbnails of images remarkably like whatever half-baked drawing you've done. It's quite enjoyable to use.


The story provides a lot of trivia about this little app:

  • It searches through 100,000 of Flickr's most popular images.
  • It focuses on regions of colors rather than specific shapes and lines.
  • The search algorithm is based on a 1995 research paper entitled Fast Multiresolution Image Querying and the imgSeek application.
  • It was created by the 27-year-old Austrian programmer Christian Langreiter for the company System One as part of some product research. Development took 2 months and about $20,000.

Not every day a mashup gets its own profile in the WSJ.


Comments (1)

I find myself telling people about retrievr atleast once a week. Such a fun tool. I recommend playing "2player retrievr" where you set a goal (e.g. blue eyed blonde boy) and see who can find it first.