Google lanches Image Swirl experiment

Google has launched a new product to its experimental "labs" offerings called Image Swirl. It's an interface for sifting through the piles of pictures that appear when you conduct an image search and aims to group similar pictures together.

Google says that Image Swirl "builds on new computer vision research to cluster similar images into representative groups in a fun, exploratory interface". That interface consists of a number of stacks of photos that expand when you click on them into spider diagrams. It's a little bit like the Wonder Wheel that Google is experimenting with for search results.

For the moment Image Swirl will only work with 200,000 or so queries - not everything. That should increase over time and begin to include more obscure content. The search field auto-updates as you type, so you'll be able to see relatively quickly if what you're looking for is in there or not.

What do you think? Useful tool, or pointless flashy interface? Let us know in the comments.