Flickr’s Interestingness Patent

Easter Sunday at First Parish
My most ‘interesting’ photo

One of the things that has always confused me is how Flickr’s ‘interestingness’ score worked. It’s clearly not based directly on views — my most ‘interesting’ photos have ~500 views, while my most popular ones have ~5000. The same is true of comments, tags, groups, etc: Some of my most interesting photos are, all in all, the least obviously ‘popular’ ones.

However, reading through the patent on Interestingness, I see:

[0027] The statistics engine generates statistics and other metrics based upon aggregated metadata. In one embodiment, the statistics engine determines the popularity of metadata (e.g., tags) within a grouping of media objects over a predetermined time period. For example, the statistics engine may determine the number of different users that have assigned a particular tag to one or more media objects within all groups on the system, within a single group, or within a set of media objects, over the last 24 hours. The aggregation engine may determine (and display) a histogram of the tags, and may determine the most frequently assigned tags (at any point in time or over a predetermined time period) by determining those tags either having a frequency exceeding a minimum threshold frequency or belonging to a predetermined number of the most popular tags.

The patent application doesn’t directly claim that this is used in the interestingness calculation, but this type of time-period based tag aggregation/valuation is clearly a non-obvious metric that can’t be calculated by looking directly at user-visible information on a single photo.

Still, none of this really changes the fact that I wish that flickr had a per-person ‘most interesting this week’ sort: my ‘eastern bunny’ photo above has been at the top of the interesting list for ages, and I want new interesting photos, damnit!

One Response to “Flickr’s Interestingness Patent”

  1. Enrico Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I was looking for how flickr determines what it considers “most interesting”.

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