Like most other students, when I’m at home studying and need a brain break I often turn to online games. There are almost limitless choices in cyberspace, everything from Chess to Tetris or even that old classic, Pacman. However, while gaming online, why not choose a game that not only provides that needed study break but also improves the efficiency of the internet?
Recently I was introduced to a new form of online gaming that does just that. It is called Gaming with a Purpose, or Gwap. This multiplayer gaming site takes advantage of users’ game playing interactions to make computers ‘smarter’. Case in point, gwap.com’s ESP Game. In this game partners are shown the same image and both are asked to describe it with one word. When both players describe the image with the same word they receive points and a new image is shown. The process continues until time runs out.
On the surface this may seem like the typical online game, however, ESP is actually enticing users tag images for future online searches and they are doing this for free! The images displayed are retrieved randomly from internet sites all over the world and, since text conversation between game partners is prohibited, the only way for the gamers to win is to accurately describe the image.
Some real life example of matching descriptions include: George Bush and the description of ‘yuck,’ Britney Spears and ‘bald.’ Now, if you go to Google image search and type in the word ‘bald’ there is an increased chance that one of the images displayed will be of Britney Spears. While the George and Brittany examples may be a little silly, in general the ESP Game really does help search engines find images more effectively. But, if the ESP Game isn’t your style, gwap.com has a more games to offer, all of which help to make the internet more efficient for everyone.
For more information on the background of Gwap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtFroEJN1nI&feature=related