Thanks, Google Images

I’ve been using Anki along with AnkiDroid to create French flashcards. Whenever I encounter a new word/phrase I want to retain, I turn it into a highly personalized flashcard, which gets added to my Anki deck that I review daily.

For example, here is one of my noun cards for the french word for “bad luck” (malchance), featuring the first couple of things I associate with the word:

I’ve relied heavily on Google Images to make flashcard creation as quick as possible. However, Google changed something about their search algorithm within the last 6 months that has really slowed me down. Before, Google Images seemed to be like a big shotgun blast of any image tagged with or sitting in a page with words in my search term. Now, it seems like there is a new layer in-between my search and the results I see. Google Images assumes what it thinks I’m interested in, only shows me images of that category, and hides the rest. It is up to me to clarify further by clicking buttons from a list or by entirely redefining my search term. This might be valuable for some people, but it’s been a nightmare for my flashcard creation process where I have to regularly fight the image search engine to show me something I’m certain the old algorithm would have given me.

Top 10 worst examples:

10. “Pleasure”

“Hey Google. Got any pictures representing pleasure? Like maybe a stock image of someone enjoying some candy or a massage or maybe even something romantic?”

“Yeah, man. Here you go!”

9. “Honor”

“I know it’s abstract, but I’m needing an image to represent honor.”

“I’ve got you covered.”

8.  “Shuffle”

Shuffle has a lot of meanings! I might get the shuffle icon from a media player, or a deck of cards, or–”

“Cartoon chicks!”

7. “In reverse”

“Got any pictures of a car backing up or the alphabet going backwards?”

“Yeah, but this band is pretty good, too.”

6. “Damages”

*sigh* “…damages please”

“You bet.”

5. “Wander”

“Y u do dis to me”


4. “Melody”

“Surely everyone knows what a melody is. It should be unambiguous”


3. “Long lasting”



2. “Edge”


“okay I get it…he’s a wrestler. But I want a sharp edge

“I don’t even know what that is. Can you please just give me…you know… like a cutting edge?”

1. “Case”

“Fine. I’ll stop being picky. Just give me a case. Anything you’ve got. Please. Court case, computer case, briefcase, uppercase or lowercase letters, I don’t even care anymore. Heck, recommend me a phone case to buy if you want. Just please give me a case.”