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Google sheep view (googlesheepview.com)
251 points by leonvonblut on Dec 2, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments

After waking up, I watched a video of two cats fighting and screaming for a couple of minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEvvRfuVk30

The video has 8 million views.

Out of all the activities and experiences that our modern world offers, 8 million viewers still chose to watch two cats fighting ... Why ?

Projects like these make me both happy and scared - happy, because life is so good that people have nothing better to do than look for photos of sheep on google maps and publish them online.

Scared because a lot more people have nothing better to do than visit that page and look at the photos of sheep somewhere in time and space.. Have we all gone mad ?

I posted a 9 second video of me pushing a coke can over a table making a sound that's similar to Chewbacca (https://youtu.be/myhYNsRXYgs) a few days ago. So far it's been seen 750.000 times on youtube and about 3.000.000 times on facebook. This is about 416 days worth of people watching this video (wasting time).

However, I think it is the wrong perspective to take. People do all sorts of "seemingly" non-productive things (including but not limited to watching stupid youtube videos)... all the time. But I think these activities might have important and positive social properties (people bonding over the video, having a laugh). There are possibly even some positive psychological effects (such as stress relief). Well, that's just my thoughts on the matter. :)

But of course I'm not a psychologist, and I don't know if this is the case in reality. But it is certainly an interesting topic to explore.

"I've just sucked one year of your life away. I might one day go as high as five, but I really don't know what that would do to you."

Haha, to bring in another psychology principle, after watching that I watched it again with my eyes closed. Definitely does not sound like Chewbacca unless you have the visual of Chewbacca in your mind making it easy for my mind to connect the memory of Chewbacca to aluminium dragging on a surface.

Hehe sure. However, both me and my colleague connected the sound without the visual. But we both saw one of the other Chewbacca videos a few days before so that's probably why. ;)

Out of curiosity, how much ad revenue has that video generated for you?

Nothing yet, because I signed with Flock Video (that was really stupid of me).

However, the other video I have on my channel have made about 1.5 DKK ($0.21) from the curious few (about 5.000 views) who saw that video as well.

I don't really expect anything... I'll just have to wait and see when Flock Video send me my cut in january. :)

About three fiddy.

Ha, nice, a saw that on Reddit when it got popular there. Fun to watch something blow up you created, no matter how trivial it may seem.

Yeah it's been a fun learning experience. Still going strong but not as much as when it hit the front page of reddit.

Haha, I've actually seen that video last week or so on reddit and said "uh oh, nice" :)..

It's really hard to define what's good/productive and what is not (apart from choosing optimization function, there's so many unknowns, like e.g. speeding up technological progress could be leading to our quicker extinction).

So if I look at this frustrated guy rewriting app from one JS framework to another, and some other one being happy looking at some pictures of sheep, I'm really not able to tell which one is spending his time "better".

Of course there's also this thing that for one person exploring depths of some computer game may be very exciting and worth spending time, while somebody else may not get his dopamine unless he creates something new. Everything seems to suggest that the there are more consumers than creators out there <insert education system rant here>

But what I actually wanted to point out, is that when you look at human history, it seems to me, that even when spending a lot of time watching cats, average Joe is able and is doing a lot more of meaningful stuff today than he was able in the past. Again, meaningful is hard to define, but I mean there's more opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before. More niches and small global communities. Less time spent on dull repetitive tasks (yes, I think it does still hold true if you include China).

There a long slope from TV soaps to art. A lot of those otherwise pointless web pages live somewhere on that slope.

I like it, personally. Bad art, pretend art, halfbrained art, it's all someone's creativity and to me, that glass is half full. Collecting sheep pictures is perhaps a poor display of creativity, but it is an act of creation, and thereby vastly better than sitting in front of the teevee watching game of thrones.



(Cheap) entertainment is a human need, we don't need to be productive 24/7 (of course, within a certain extent).

I actually find deeply misguided to be (or trying to be) productive 24/7.

edit: more precise wording.

> Out of all the activities and experiences that our modern world offers, 8 million viewers still chose to watch two cats fighting ... Why ?

There is at least one of those 8 million viewers that you can ask directly: yourself.

I didn't watch that video and I won't be, so I'm asking you: Why?

Actually :).. I wanted to scare off my cat who climbs onto my chair in the morning and bugs me from behind. So I searched for the thing on youtube and put the volume to the max... At first my cat was a bit worried, but by now he got used to the crazy machine I have here and he just rubbed his head off my iMac.. I on the other hand... continued watching the video and then I clicked another one and possibly another one.

Why exactly I did that is a bit more complicated in this case - I guess the insatiable necessity to entertain the brain which we got so used to with technology... And it's getting more and more stronger as more people become 'addicted' to constant stimulation. But I still don't have the definite answer to that though...

Hehe. Ok, now extrapolate to 8m and you have your answer :)

I know exactly what you mean. I am trying to figure out why I do this too.

I guess at some level, I expect a dopameine reward for watching a video.

And, I guess this also motivates the other 8 million people.

Even after I've watched something like this, I'm not entirely sure I've wasted my time.

But, I think this does point to some kind of human failing, or inherent human bias, a bit like a propensity for gambling.

I'd argue that a propensity for gambling is essentially a propensity for risk taking, something that makes us human and commonly leads us to success (and major failures too, but this is the human condition). Many of my own successes have come via merely dicking around or dabbling in things that interested me, so I'm going to chalk it up as a win.

Richard Feynman got a Nobel prize out of 'dabbling in things that interested him'. Not everything has to have a purpose right away, good - even great - things can come from activities without direction.

yes, I see what you mean: gambling is a good trait to have in a population, but it sucks if you're the guy who has to pour all his money into fruit machines.

The amount of brainless distraction grows at the same rate we as citizen feel depowered from fighting against those challenges which really affect us or other persuade to believe us to affect us.

At any given time, some large fraction of the human race is engaged in pointless amusing diversions, and that's been true for as long as we've had leisure time. The only difference now is that it's become much easier to measure.

What would be your answer? Why did you watch it?

Precisely. It's funny to complain about people watching cat videos in a 'Out of all the activities and experiences that our modern world offers, 8 million viewers still chose to watch two cats fighting' and 'have we all gone mad' manner while admitting to doing the same.

“Mad” is a relative term. Is it sane to obsess over constantly staying productive? Is it normal to feel guilt when doing some silly, pointless things that bring you joy? In my vocabulary, “mad” are people who take life too seriously.

> After waking up, I watched a video of two cats fighting and screaming for a couple of minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEvvRfuVk30

That video needs subtitles.

I don't see this as a commentary on modern times. I'd guess that if you pick random person from any era since the dawn of humanity and any location on Earth, the odds are pretty good that they'd be interested in watching 2 cats fighting.

> happy, because life is so good that people have nothing better to do than look for photos of sheep on google maps

Really? it sounds rather depressing to me. How is it any good that people would waste their limited time on Earth doing something like that?

I could never watch a video like that. I'd feel like I was invading their privacy.

Huxley must be smiling (or weeping...) somewhere out there...

This is the perfect intelligence gathering tool for wolves when they understand the Internet!

If you enjoyed these, also be sure to check out Jon Rafman's http://9-eyes.com/

I have no idea what's going on in most of these photos, but I love it. I wish they had coordinates though.

The one of the guy walking on the riverbank that is double exposed seriously creeps me out for some reason.


Same here. Would like to know where http://36.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_maf5ynOadW1qzun8oo1_1280.j... was taken.

It's Japanese Macaque, so should be either Japan or a zoo.

I'm sure second one is from Russia.

Some of those are such beautiful pictures. All from a truck just taking pictures of everything. If an infinite amount of monkeys can write Shakespeare, then I suppose its inevitable that millions of random pictures could produce these.

Truthfully how must successful photographers do it. A little more than trained monkeys, but certainly volume plays a huge role.

I'm a sheep, and I feel really bad about this website. My private life is exposed to anyone, since my face is clearly shown! Why google only masks human faces?

Developed in the Netherlands, yet this is the most Kiwi use of technology I have ever seen...

It is sort of (although a very weak link) validation that there are more sheep in NZ than anywhere else in the world.

In absolute numbers that's not even remotely true. According to FAOSTAT the undisputed top 1 is mainland China (175M) followed by Australia (75M), India (64M), Sudan (52M) and Iran (50M). New Zealand is down to 31M heads and it's been falling pretty much continually since the 1999 uptick to 46M heads.

NZ may have the highest number of sheep per capita and highest sheep density (especially since FAOSTAT doesn't list Wales independently)

If we consider Wales separately then I think it would beat NZ on density.

A quick search suggests 8.9M sheep in Wales[1], around 430s/km^2 , NZ is only about 120s/km^2.

Per capita though NZ beats Wales, and probably any other country.

[1] http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/sheep-lamb-popu...

Seeing that they use google streetview I think we need a metric of sheep per road kilometer.

That's remarkably close but NZ edges it. I make it about: Wales: 250s/km NZ: 330s/km

I did say a very weak link. :-)

I'm just happy there weren't any jokes about it being a Kiwi dating site.

Is this automated in some way? Comments here seem to be discussing it as if it were, yet I can't find anything to imply that on the site itself.

Yeah, there is a submit link. Definitely an interesting deep learning problem. Search Google Streetview for X.

The problem with AJAX pages is that I keep scrolling just to see how far it goes. 455 entries, not bad.

I find myself scrolling just to see if I can get at the horribly placed links and text at the bottom of the page, before the next batch loads in.

These images seem to be all submitted by people who found them manually. Are there enough images that we could train a neural network to recognize sheep in Google Streetview pictures?

Sure, we could also train it on other random sheep pictures, but I'm betting that wouldn't be as good at correctly classifying sheep in Streetview sheep since those pictures will likely contain the sheep from a similar angle, orientation, and size (that isn't similar to the street view pics). Not sure though.

For a moment I thought this was a clever deep learning demo. But hey, how about making one?

came here to see sheep, was not disappointed.

This is why hacker news is better at 4am...

What beautiful scenery.

was this done with machine learning or manual submission?

A domain name is sheep anyway!

Don't tell the Welsh!

The Welshman in me is very excited about this!

or New Zealanders

Holy shit, you know hipsters with their activism desires will eat you alive... It's racist, conferences will be cancelled, 24hr keyboard warrior marathons will be held, Google will be noted as evil... Think, won't someone please think

That was a fun eight seconds.

Do they have no respect for the privacy of the sheep?

Soon to be New Zealand's most popular dating site.

Why would you register a domain name which contains a trademark? Wasted money.

It cost him a staggering $13.95. He's probably starving right now...

You're getting a lot of downvotes but I agree - I know from experience that google pursues domains that contain "google" hard and fast.

Could you share with us your experience?

When the iPhone 7 is released, you will be able to clearly see the locations of the Apple stores :)

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