Photo annotation on a camera phone

A. Wilhelm, Y. Takhteyev, R. Sarvas, N. V. House, and M. Davis. Photo annotation on a camera phone. In CHI ’04: CHI ’04 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, pages 1403–1406, New York, NY, USA, 2004. ACM. [PDF]


This paper argues for the use of the multimedia capabilities of phones for helping indexing and retrieval of pictures. They built a system capable of incorporating metadata, like the user’s position, and keywords defined by the user to the picture. This information was stored to a remote server and then used during retrieval.

To evaluate their design they conducted a user study where they deployed the system to a group of 55 participants. They found that one fo the major problem was the unpredictability of the network connection that made interaction with the remote server lenghty. From the study they also learned that participants used the camera of their phone extensively but the value that they attributed to many pictures was very little. Instead, they users took advantage of the networking capabilities of the phone to share events of their life with their friends. The capture of these moments would have not been possible without the continuous availability of the mobile phone.

Interviewed participants expressed more interest for sharing and browsing the captured images than retrieving specific pictures. They were generally not interested in fully annotating pictures using keywords.

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