More Lazy Web Thoughts

I’ve been here in Edinburgh for two days. I leave this afternoon for Leeds to give a talk at the Old Broadcasting House.

But the entire time I’ve been here, I’ve been admiring this structure in the center of town. We’ve been running around from show to show and haven’t had time to do any tourist stuff so I didn’t get to visit it up close.

Instead I took this photo from a couple blocks away on the way to dinner and sent it to flickr. By the time I got home, the answer was on Friend Feed:

Fred, that is the Scott monument, the figure sitting under the monument is Sir Walter Scott. – Bob

Thanks Bob!

I looked it up on Google and now I know a bit about it.

The Scott Monument was built between 1840-46 as a memorial to the writer Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832). Designed by architect George Kemp (1795-1844), who won a competition with his gothic design, the public can climb the 287 steps to the top of the monument for spectacular views of the city.

I hope to get some time to do that walk up the stairs today.

But this experience got me thinking about "shazam for photos" When you see something that you don’t know what it is, why not take a photo and have the technology do the rest?. If it’s fast enough, you could become a tour guide without having to do any work.

I love the lazy web.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. neilmaclean

    Funny that. When I was in New York I kept seeing this huge monument of a tall lady with a spiky headdress, holding a torch. No idea what it was called. :-)Enjoy your climb Fred. It’s not quite high enough for “spectacular views of the city”. For that, you should go up Calton Hill nearby (couple of hundred yards from where you took that photo) or of course the castle.

  2. Jenilia

    Lazy, because only lazy programmers will want to write the kind of tools that might replace them in the end. Lazy, because only a lazy programmer will avoid writing monotonous, repetitive code – thus avoiding redundancy, the enemy of software maintenance and flexible refactoring. Mostly, the tools and processes that come out of this endeavor fired by laziness will speed up the production.——————JeniliaNew York Treatment Centers

  3. James

    Reminds me slightly of this TED talk demo…

  4. John A Arkansawyer

    If it’s fast enough, you could become a tour guide without having to do any work.Well, not quite. This method would have told me about the Chagall mosaic my friend took me to in Chicago, but it wouldn’t have gotten me there in the first place. The “guide” part of the experience, eh?

    1. fredwilson

      You are right about that

  5. Geoff

    Would have loved to pop up to Leeds to hear your talk. Not possible due to prior family commitments. The web really needs a way of keeping track when and where folks are giving talks.

    1. Chi-chi Ekweozor

      Looking forward to hearing your talk later today. One of the few making it across the Penines from Manchester.

  6. Imran Ali

    Hey Fred, I think Yahoo’s Berkeley R&D labs did something similar a couple years ago called ‘Zonetag’ (http://zonetag.research.yah

    1. fredwilson

      Neat. I’ll check it out

  7. bijan

    shazam for photos.i love that idea.

    1. fredwilson

      Hopefully someone will do it and then come show it to us and ask us to invest in it!

      1. Robert Seidman

        It seems to me that just as a result of this post and this comment the chances of this *not* happening are asymptotically approaching zero.. I see a follow-up “new in our portfolio” post linking back to this one in the near future. If so, between that and Brett Favre, it’s an especially good time to be you ; )

  8. Sean Ammirati

    Fred,You should also consider wikinear which (when allowing FireEagle to know your location) solves the same use case — Basically, it shows you relevant articles in wikipedia based on where you are.Thanks,Sean

    1. fredwilson

      That’s sweet

  9. Anne Johnson

    re : your title on Flickr .. Scott Monument, not Scott Memorial. Edinburgh looks gray and cool. Pity not to get any time to look around – this is the height of the Festival and Fringe season – great art exhibitions, a huge variety of music, a book festival, comedy, etc .. many thousands of events.Anne (who used to live there, and looks forward to going back)

    1. fredwilson

      If there’s one thing I got from my short visit to edinburgh was a desire to come back

  10. Mark Bean

    “hopefully to introduce him to the emerging technology ecosphere of the North of England.” Funniest thing I have read all day, Fred. I am originally from Bradford – 10 miles away from Leeds but moved to California due to a distinct lack of said ‘ecosphere’. Best thing about Leeds is Harvey Nichols.

    1. Imran Ali

      Perhaps you find that funny Mark – but I’d like to disavow you of your prejudice. I’m also from Bradford and have had a successful career for over a decade working in tech startups between London, Yorkshire, Boston and San Francisco. I’m doing things to help extend those opportunities to others. Cynical sniping at the efforts of others trying to make a difference isn’t helpful.Drop me an email – I’ll be happy to illustrate how the region is transforming itself and the historical contribution it has made to the internet industry.

  11. nav

    Shazam for photos sounds awesome : Ideally a mash-up concept between Microsoft’s Photosynth and Riya/Like?

  12. campden

    Fred – I am VC in London. I was presented to by…, the CEO whom we know quite well.Your comment reminded me of them. They have some fascinating technology. The ‘shazam for images’ idea has all manner of potential applications. Happy to make an introduction.

    1. fredwilson

      Are they doing “shazam for images”?

  13. Gotham Gal

    walk up the stairs….ha!

    1. fredwilson

      Then, I’d love an intro

  14. ARozenberg

    Love the “Shazam for pictures” idea.A few thoughts on that:1- The end game is a sensible picture correlation engine and a Google bank of advertisers through images…match made in heaven, but not there today.2- The industry has 3 stabs (to the best of my knowledge) at it. The first is direct image correlation ( But I believe in the lack of having tons of Google power from advertisers on their side, they look like a Bangalore shop of human correlators for 10 campaigns. (no offense Mobot)The second is code scanning. Check this out (…. I was working for a company in this space and we mapped the Boston freedom trail. clearly this could extend to any other field (shopping etc.). I think though that the human behavioral change to understand and use codes is challenging and eventually operators would love to kill it.The solution in between is stenography (human invisible code embedded in the image), however that one is highly dependent and sensitive to the image quality, which makes the user experience rather poor. I believe though, that Voda (… launched something like that not too long ago.