written by:
December 19, 2008

For the visually inclined, Flickr can be an invitation to spend hours meandering virtually through the snapshots of strangers (an assuredly more rewarding vortex than party photos of your Facebook friends). The amassed collection of this global network of amateur (and some professional) photographers is astounding, and the ability for users to apply Creative Commons licensing to their images means that this treasure trove of visual experience is free for the sharing.

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Now I discover it gets even better with a new tool called Idée that allows you to search according to color across the entire Creative Commons Flickr territory. Whether you comb the site for inspiration or to find images for blogs and projects, this is an efficient and fun way to narrow your search.

The Multicolr Search Lab for Flickr is just one of several offerings from Idée Inc, a company that has developed technology to find and extract visually similar images from giant digital collections. In addition to the Flickr engine they have searches for stock photography sites and tools to allow you to pair visual cues with tags or upload and compare an image of your own to those in the public domain. This is a site worth playing around with and bookmarking, just beware: it's addictive.

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