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A mashup tool I ran into a while ago is Montage-A-Google by Grant Robinson. This is a Flash-based app in which you enter a Google search term and it generates a montage of different images pulled up in the search.

The Art Option

Each montage uses about 12 pictures, but repeats them from multiple angles. Depending on what you enter you get some very interesting results. I first tried a "pretty" picture by entering "aurora". As expected, the montage pulled in some lovely aurora images, but it also pulled in a B-2 bomber and a pinup model (named Aurora).

Montage of auroras see description above
Click image to open in new window.

FYI - I tried multiple aurora attempts to see if I could remove the bomber and the bombshell, but no luck. They seem to be stuck in the queue (more on that later). In fact, based on what I found on the Spock montage, I think the tool is designed to throw the most diverse set of images together that it can.

The Social Option

What's more interesting (and devilishly entertaining) is to enter a famous name (or your name) and you will see what the Internet thinks of you.

Some, like Farrah Fawcett, are eerie since her montage features her swimsuit picture as well as later pictures of her illness. You see what was lost in terms of looks, but what was gained in terms of character and dignity. Others, like Kate Jackson (the "smart" Angel) are interesting because her montage pulls up an early publicity photo which I will only describe as "saucy" and not all what I would expect from her current persona.

You can expand it further and enter things like "Wonder Woman" (some pictures are fashion fierce and others warrior fierce) or "Israel" (got a rife, a flag and a bikini)...or whatever. Needless to say, I and others have imagined some interesting applications for a media studies or woman's studies class.

I was adventurous and entered my name and got this montage.

PyattMontage.jpg see description below
Click image to open in new window.

The result was no photos (Yes!), but lots of images I uploaded including the svasti (the new friendlier name for the swastika in Unicode). It's a little scary because it looks very questionable out of context. The Arabic bismallah image also appears along with my Facebook network. What do these images add up to really?

The montage tool does point you to the original image, but just the image. Without the original page or blog entry, many of these images are very perplexing out of context. So the result is that the montage gives you a surface, slightly kicked up view of a topic...kind of like real life perception of casual acquaintances or a 5-minute news segment.

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