Saturday, June 25, 2011

Answer: Two images of the Statue of Liberty?

As you can see from the comments, there are multiple ways to solve this problem.  And that's great!  Nice job, search detectives!

But I used the new Search-By-Image feature (see the Inside Search Google site about SBI for details) to figure this one out.

I just dragged both images into the Image Search box and poked around the results, quickly learning that the USPS used an image of the Statue of Liberty--the Las Vegas version--rather than the original statue in New York harbor.  As much as I'd like to interpret this as the USPS's way of commenting on our American attitude toward self-invention and re-interpretation, it's clear they just were running fast and loose with their checks on metadata.  (I presume they got copyright for the image.  How they could have NOT noticed it was the Las Vegas Statue of Liberty is beyond me.  I'd fail a student who turned in work that sloppy!)

Nevertheless, I solved the problem in this way....  I put the two images off on the side of my desktop, then dragged them into Google Image search query box and looked at the results.  Easy.  

Once I'd done that, it was pretty straightforward to compare the kinds of results I was seeing, and notice that the second image was the same image as the one on the Liberty stamp. 

And once you know THAT, then the whole sordid story about how and USPS ended up using the image of the Las Vegas statue comes up.  Yeah.  They printed up $880M worth of stamps with the wrong image.... 

For bacground, here's the YouTube video some folks at Google put together to show how SBI works.

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