To watch a guide-dog fly



From time to time, our own T.V. Raman shares his tips on how to use Google from his perspective as a technologist who cannot see—tips that sighted people, among others, may also find useful. - Ed.

You might well wonder what interest I might have in image search given that I cannot see. You might be even more surprised to learn that I own a digital camera. :-) I acquired one a few years ago because the cost of taking photos with a digital camera is zero. It only took a couple of weeks before I could take relatively good pictures of my handsome guide dog. I post many of these pictures to my website -- obviously not for viewing by me, but all my friends.

But how do you easily tell friends how to find that special picture? Here Google Image search comes to the rescue. Whenever I'm surrounded by Hubbell's fan club, I want to tell people how they can view specific pictures of her on the web. Universal Resource Locators (URLs) -- those long address strings that make the web work -- are nice, but they have one major disadvantage: they're unspeakable! Thanks to search, I've not had to speak a URL in a long, long time. Instead I usually tell friends to search for [Hubbell Labrador flying] to locate pictures of her sitting on the pilot seat of an aircraft that I posted many years ago to the web.

One can think of such focused search queries as "conversational bookmarks" -- the spoken equivalent of bookmarks one saves within a traditional web browser. Notice that such conversational bookmarks are not specific to image search. I often tell people that they can find me on the web by searching Google for [raman labrador] and clicking the I'm Feeling Lucky button.
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