The transfer of human intelligence to the machine is something the internet makes easy to do. With reCAPTCHA, we keep spammers at bay while helping digitize old books, Amazon's Mechanical Turk lets us crowdsource small tasks to a dynamic human workforce available on demand, and Google Image Labeler makes the tedious task of tagging fun. Now Yahoo is trying to tap into that human machine through their new VideoTagGame, a game that encourages participants to tag sections within a video for better retrieval.

The first VideoTagGame ran back in summer of 2007 during a Yahoo! party in Amsterdam. Now they're ready to take their experiment to the public through the Yahoo! Sandbox so they can collect more statistics on its usage.

The objective of the VideoTagGame is to collect time-based annotations of the video which could then enable the retrieval of relevant parts in a video when a search is performed, rather than returning the entire video itself. These annotations are collected in the context of a multi-player game.

How To Play

To play the VideoTagGame, participants must sign in with their Yahoo! ID and join a new game. There will always be at least three players in each game. After a 3-second countdown, the video will begin to play. As it plays, participants enter tags that correspond to the various parts of the video. When two players agree on a tag (that is, they enter the same tag), they each get points. The closer together the tags were entered, the more points are rewarded. After the video ends, participants can then watch as it plays again, this time with the tags overlaid on top of the video.

The game, like Google Image Labeler, can be both fun and challenging for those involved. Think it sounds easy? Don't be fooled - the other participants are often fast typers capable of of entering nearly a hundred tags during a couple minutes of footage.

The VideoTagGame is a fun time-waster for those who like to play online games. It's similar to the games at the site Gwap ("games with a purpose"), launched by Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, as it uses "the human processor," too. Like the GWAP games, the end result of the VideoTagGame is the possibility of enabling new technology for searching within videos...or your name at the top of the scoreboard...whichever one sounds more exciting to you.