Tag Archives: Google Books


Duolingo Beta put to the test: can you learn a language while translating the web?

Posted on by Tommaso De Benetti

… bot-blocking service that uses all of us to help digitize the archives of The New York Times and Google Books. (Just think: every time you have to squint your eyes and turn your head sideways to decipher those annoyingly blurry squiggly words, you’re making the world a better place. Still, feel free to swear while you do it.)

In this TED presentation, von Ahn introduces his new project, Duolingo. Duolingo’s goal, in short, is to crowdsource language teaching. Here’s the twist: …

Tags: Caribbean crowd crowdsourcing Duolingo Google Books Luis von Ahn microtask microwork new york times reCAPTCHA TED translation

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Michael S Hart: a man of many words

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… to “encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks”. As a commenter on our recent Google Ngrams blog pointed out, not only was Project Gutenberg the first large-scale project to digitize books, it used distributed labor to do it.

Since 1981 Project Gutenberg has been run entirely by online volunteers (for the first 10 years, Hart apparently typed in every single book himself). Unlike Steve “control freak” Jobs, Michael Hart described himself as “not a very bossy …

Tags: crowd crowdsourcing E-book google Google Books Hart iPhone Michael Hart microwork Project Gutenberg Steve Jobs

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Google Ngrams: in the beginning was the word search

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

Long, long ago, before Android, G+ and self-driving cars, Google had one simple mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and easy to use.

Nowadays, the big-friendly-search-giant sometimes seems more interested in irritating Mark Zuckerberg than promoting universal knowledge. But, just occasionally, Google gets back to basics.

In 2004 Google started digitizing books. Since then, 15 million volumes have …

Tags: Android crowd crowdsourcing google Google Labs Harvard University Mark Zuckerberg microwork Million Book Project new york times TED

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Search me: what Mad Men and brave moles can do for historical records

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… Mad Men, is not something that people said in the 1960s ).

This study was made possible with Google’s Ngram viewer. As we discussed about a year ago, Ngram allows you to chart how many times a different combination of words or letters has appeared in Google Books’ huge corpus of 5 million texts published between 1500 and 2008.

Along with the many fascinating results, the great thing about this project is that it has managed to get the media interested in Ngram again. My own …

Tags: crowdsourcing Don Draper Downton Abbey google History Mad Men microtask National Library of Finland Ngram Optical character recognition

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2011: the year the future became history?

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

Looking back, this year seems set to enter the history books as a year of upheaval: from natural disasters such as the Japanese tsunami, to the economic turmoil in the EU and US, to the more positive chaos in the Middle East.

Amidst the booming tech industry, we at Microtask have often felt insulated from this turbulence. But mostly, we have felt like we were right there, in the thick of it: 2011 was the year that the power of the online crowd …

Tags: Baidu crowd crowdsourcing eBay google microtask microwork Middle East United States youtube

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