Visualizing the Dictionary with Google Images

When London designers Ben West and Felix Heyes decided to create a visual dictionary of sorts, they knew exactly where to go: Google Images. The duo printed a 1,240-page dictionary using the first image that Google has for 21,000 words you'd normally find inside a common desk dictionary:

“We used two PHP scripts my brother Sam wrote for us,” says Ben about the process in an email. “The first one takes a text list of dictionary words and downloads each image in sequence, and the second lays them out into columns and outputs a PDF.” The PDF was then printed into a beautiful book – handbound, thumb indexed pages held together in a marbled paper hardcover, the golden Google logo clearly indifferent to whatever internet horrors it may contain.

“Conceptually it’s whatever you make of it,” writes Ben. The sad reality of shrinking attention spans, collective media fatigue or how an expert reference book is no match for the convenience of Google, for example. “It’s really an unfiltered, uncritical record of the state of human culture in 2012,” concludes Ben. So, how are we faring? “I would estimate about half of the book is revolting medical photos, porn, racism or bad cartoons.”

Link  - via Technolog

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I wonder if they got any of the disturbing images brought up by googling innocent-sounding words like "kitten" and "Tasmanian devil."

Google-imaging the composer Xenakis also results in disturbing images, though I don't think that'd be in the dictionary.
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