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Labels Not Tags, Says Google

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-tag-by-any-other-name dept.

Google 284

Ashraf Al Shafaki writes "The word 'tags' is the one in common use on the Web today and is one of the distinctive features of Web 2.0. Ever since Gmail came out, Google has decided to use the term 'label' instead of the term 'tag' despite they are basically the exact same thing and have the exact same function. Why is Google using inconsistent terminology in its products for such an important term? Is there a real difference between a tag and a label?"

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what is a tag ? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694112)


http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=define%3A+tag [google.co.uk]

it certainly isnt what we see on blogs and web2.0 sites (except in the source code)

</endtag>

Re:what is a tag ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694244)

If we're being pedantic then "tags" aren't used in markup either, "elements" are. The xml/html related definitions of "tag" at the google link are wrong! Widespread (mis-)use of the word "tag" to mean "arbitrary label" is also wrong however language develops through misuse of words by common people.

Re:what is a tag ? (2, Funny)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694268)

Stupid commoners.

-stormin

Re:what is a tag ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694448)

If we're being pedantic then "tags" aren't used in markup either, "elements" are. The xml/html related definitions of "tag" at the google link are wrong!
Nonsense, most of them are perfectly correct. Take this one, for example:
A token that represents the beginning or end of an element. A tag that begins an element is called a start tag, and one that ends and element is called an end tag. HTML tags begin with ' < ' and end with ' > '.
That's exactly what a "tag" is (except it doesn't mention XML's <name/> syntax, but that's just a shortcut anyway).

Re:what is a tag ? (1)

WoLpH (699064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694552)

I'm guessing the reason for most sites is simple.
  • Everyone uses the word tag
  • Tag is a lot shorter so it takes up less space
PS: no, I didn't RTFA

It depends.... (4, Funny)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694118)

If the service is in the Beta phase it's Label. If it's in Alpha, it would be tag.


And if it's in production... well... how would we know?

Re:It depends.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694232)

Because tagging sounds better than labelling

Re:It depends.... (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694546)

Better believe it! "Label! You're it!" just doesn't have the same ring.

As for Google's choices, I'll just make a tin-foil hat observation:

As for how some of the world's biggest PC and software companies got so big? They start out by giving us what we want. They get popular. At that point, they start telling US what we want, and can't understand why we disagree...

Re:It depends.... (1)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694814)

It will probably be gabel. We must not forget the 'g'. I just hope the gabel is not too costly. :)

Why tags? (2, Insightful)

keitosama (990483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694120)

I wouldn't say Google are inconsistent, how come they should call it tags if they think it should be labels? I have never heard of any W3C recommendation of the word 'tag' either, so anyone implenting this feature should be able to decide for themselves.

Re:Why tags? (5, Insightful)

bentley79 (1053828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694710)

There was an interesting panel at CHI (ACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction) last spring that looked at tagging. They had a video where they walked around Berkeley and asked people what a tag was, if they had ever heard of flickr, etc. etc. Most people had no clue at all. I'm sure if you asked people what a "label" is, anyone could give you a pretty accurate definition that goes along the lines of a web 2.0 "tag"

Just because those in the web 2.0 world are using a word doesn't mean it's the right word for the mainstream.

Re:Why tags? (1)

likerice (1046554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694966)

the greater inconsistency lay in the fact that google uses the term "label" in its bookmarks service while using the term "tag" in google reader.

A replacement for "folder" (5, Insightful)

Inyu (919458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694124)

I think they do so intending it to be a replacement of an obsolete term "folder" or "directory". I myself was also fed up with directories on my PC. I hope in the future there will be no such thing as directories in the filesystem at all, and there will be labels instead.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (3, Informative)

kusanagi374 (776658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694156)

Yeah, pretty much like the Motorola phones. When you create a folder on a MicroSD card (photos, videos, music, etc) it'll consider the folder name a "category", and the whole UI is based on that concept.

I believe its much more logical to consider folders as categories and subcategories instead of just directories. That's what I do when I store my data, and that's the logic behind my folder names.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (5, Insightful)

Inyu (919458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694386)

I agree. For example, say I have a friend Jack Wilton in Australia, and I took a photo while visiting him. I may want to put the photo both into the folder named "Australia", and into the folder "Jack Wilton" at the same time. Being intended as a replacement for folders, I consider labels are tags for files.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (1)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694456)

I don't know... for instance, it makes sense for the files for a game to be all in the same directory, and they don't strike me as particularly needing categorization. It might be good for media like photos, music, videos, etc., but for documents and so on directories seem to make more sense.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (1)

Inyu (919458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694666)

Say there are:

* saved games in the game directory
* pc user personal directory
* some project in a another directory
etc.

Say you want to:

* see all of your files and directories when you open your personal directory, and be able to browse through them.

How do you do that with traditional directories?

Re:A replacement for "folder" (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694790)

Organization and display are not the same thing. You want to see all the files you own, but do you really want all the files you own in one, jumbled, disorganized place?

WIth a traditional filesystem you could have links stored in (guess what) another directory where you would organize your access to your organized files. Eventually, you will have a filesystem that manages metadata and you would probably have a 'search folder' that would automatically display all files and folders that match a query, in this case all files and folders you own.

However, you still have your files organized in folders that keeps like files together and unrelated files apart.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694840)

Say you want to:

* see all of your files and directories when you open your personal directory, and be able to browse through them.

How do you do that with traditional directories?


wonder-woman% find ~ -name '*' -print

Re:A replacement for "folder" (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694842)

You open your home directory. That's what home directories are for - everything that belongs to you sits in your home directory. (Note: This does not apply in the Windows world where most people scatter their files all over the place).

If you would open your home directory and get a list of all files in all folders in it you'd end up with a list with a couple thousand entries, which would be pretty much useless. Getting a regular directory listing and browing from there makes more sense. Also, if you need a certain file and don't know where it is you can use the OS's search feature, which usually works quite fast (and, in the case of at least Spotlight, supports file tagging).

File labels are a really nifty thing, but what you asked for is much easier done by just putting files in the user's home directory, where they're supposed to go - which all *nices enforce anyway.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694786)

So, instead of having a neat, organized system for finding files among millions of files on PC's, you're saying that it would be *easier* to have "tags"? Riiiight... I would love to use arbitrary words to "organize" the millions of files on my computers. Sounds like fun. I would also love to upgrade all of my PC's to have hardware that could handle this kind of database, as well.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (3, Interesting)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694916)

Hardware is the easy part. The hard part is looking at a pile of a million things and trying to figure out what the tags are on that document you were writing last month.

It's a stupid idea. Filing is not about searching blindly in the style of google. Filing is about having a SYSTEM for categorising things, so that you can figure out what categories any given thing belongs in. Once you have such a system, the easiest way to implement that in software? Directories.

Sloppy labels only look good to people who have never had anything resembling a filing system, and instead just lose their documents.

Re:A replacement for "folder" (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694836)

> I hope in the future there will be no such thing as
> directories in the filesystem at all, and there will be labels instead.

Well Palm OS uses similar aproach - you don't sort files into folders but you label them and then list them via label. Usually it works OK. But sometime it is really pain. But at least you still can browse the filesystem (with dirs and files) via additional software.

I think it would be OK to have filesystem with labels/tags and also normaln folder/file functionality if you wish. Having two options is better than having only one. Especially when both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

google, internet (tagging beta) (5, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694136)

LABELLING beta!

Get it Right, Dammit!

label makes more sense (5, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694138)

It makes more sense to call them "labels" because the word "tag" generally refers to html/xml tags. Since you can use these tags (although you don't have to) to create the label type of tags, it's especially confusing.

In any case, it's closer to plain English to call them labels. That's what you're doing. If I'm in GMail and I want to indicate that an email is work related it is closer to plain English to say that I labelled it work than to say that I tagged it work.

Is this what a slow news day really looks like?

-stormin

Re:label makes more sense (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694162)

I couldn't agree more. I sense the article is just another attempt to bash Google for anything and everything.

There is no web standard to use the term "tag" and label is more appropriate. And does it really matter either way?

Re:label makes more sense (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694402)

"I sense the article is just another attempt to bash Google for anything and everything."

I think the perception of Google is changing from "everything Google does is smart, right and good" to a more balanced one. I think there's still a bit of a pro-Google bias out there, but it's slowly fading.

Re:label makes more sense (2, Informative)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694314)

"html/xml tags"

For which I'm pretty sure the proper term is "element [w3.org] ."

Re:label makes more sense (5, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694362)

Why on earth would we revert to an obscure technical term rather than a common vernacular term when the objective is to make something easily understood to the masses?

-stormin

Re:label makes more sense (3, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694630)

Why on earth would we revert to an obscure technical term rather than a common vernacular term when... ?
How on earth did you get the impression that " the objective is to make something easily understood to the masses". Perhaps it is 'your objective', but I find that I get paid better when they don't quite understand :)

Re:label makes more sense (2, Funny)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694634)

Two words : job security.

Thought, I read once that the surest way to get yourself fired is being irreplaceable, at least when you are a programmer.

Re:label makes more sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694572)

Wrong, tags and elements both exist in HTML, and are different things.

Re:label makes more sense (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694606)

"html/xml tags"
For which I'm pretty sure the proper term is "element."
Not to confuse anyone...

<h1>all of this is an element</h1>
<h1> the thing on the left is a tag (an opening tag)
</h1> the thing on the left is another tag (a closing tag)

Re:label makes more sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694686)

Actually, when the average developer uses the word "tag", there's about a 70% chance they mean "element type", there's about a 20% chance they mean "element", there's about a 8% chance they mean "attribute", and only a 2% chance they actually mean "tag". The abuse of this term is so prevalent that it's a running joke in the NOT the comp.text.sgml FAQ [flightlab.com] .

The word "tag" is actually a genuine technical term. It's the delimiter that marks the beginning and end of elements. In other words, the actual text "<foo>" that appears in the document. The element is a particular instance of an element type found in a particular document. The element type is (shock) the type of element - a paragraph, an image, a table, etc. The terms "tag", "element" and "element type" are not only dissimilar, they are working on completely different conceptual levels. One is at the syntactical level. One is at the document structure level. One is at the markup language level. Totally different things.

Funnily enough, this distinction is explained [w3.org] in the HTML 4 specification because so many people get it wrong. So next time you see somebody abuse the word "tag", you'll know how familiar they are with the HTML 4 specification (i.e. not at all).

Re:label makes more sense (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694416)

In any case, it's closer to plain English to call them labels. That's what you're doing. If I'm in GMail and I want to indicate that an email is work related it is closer to plain English to say that I labelled it work than to say that I tagged it work.

Also, standard desktop e-mail clients have had the facility for a while (longer than there has been such a concept as "web 2.0" for certain) and generally use the name "label" for that, too. Mozilla Thunderbird certainly does. So it would have been incompatible with existing, established terminology in the mail client field to use the name "tag", which has is also existing terminology that has generally been interpreted in mail clients as "select this message as part of a group so I can perform some operation on all of them" since some time in the late eighties.

Sorry, original poster, but google were just following existing and long-established naming conventions that were in use by large numbers of existing applications in the same field.

Re:label makes more sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694458)

It makes more sense to call them "tags" because the word "label" generally refers to html/xml form labels. Since you can use these labels (although you don't have to) to tag a label, it's especially confusing.

In any case, it's more correct to call them tags in most English vernacular, since there is no such thing as plain English. That's what you're really doing, assigning tags. If I'm on Slashdot and I want to indicate that a post is indicative of a slow news day, it is more correct in various real-world English dialects to say I tagged the post as slownewsday than it is to stigmatize (i.e., label) it as fuckingridiculous.

Here's what a slow news day looks like: a couple of basement dwellers like us duel in half-cocked assumptions about what words meant back in the days of when old codgers believed a language was fixed in meaning versus common daily usage in the modern international world, when it may not be the end of the world if Google opts to use a non-standard word and that choice won't change the mind of everyone else.

Re:label makes more sense (1)

Swtzrs (1006017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694504)

Personally, I prefer calling them tags because it creates a more visual image in my mind. Tags are not a piece of the object, but something hanging off it for the purpose of categorization/information. Labels are a part of the object itself and seem more indicative of something being defined rather than organized.

Well, maybe that's just the same thing and I'm being completely arbitrary. Very likely the case. I just happen to prefer the name tags.

However, the point that html/xml already has a very defined use of the word 'tag' makes me reconsider. The use of 'tag' by html/xml has no relationship to the use of 'tag' as a user-applied system of organization. When I tell a client "the HTML on that site page has a lot of hidden tags which are corrupting the rendering of the text", I don't want that client to start looking through the metadata that's been applied to it.

Excellent point, theStorminMormon.

Does it really matter? (3, Insightful)

DinZy (513280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694142)

I'm not sure if they use labels outside of gmail, but even so it is their interface and they should be able to decide what names they give to the features. I do think that in gmail labels are different than tags in the sense that only you apply them and that they are done by rules you create. Regular tags are usually added by people in the online community.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

PHP Wolf (629571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694624)

Yes, they do. You can use labels on Google Videos.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694890)

There is a difference between the tags and labels. A label is something that will fits a specific category that has a limited use. You wouldn't think of having unlimited labels because it would be insane to keep track of them all. Tagging, OTOH, is geared towards searches and that's pretty much it. You can have unlimited number of tags and they will still scale for searches. Labels would be hard to manage like that because people would be looking at clicking through their label as if it were a folder.

If anything, I look at labels as trump to tags. You should have maybe ten labels in gmail. If you have more -- get a life. If gmail added tags as a feature, it would be much more casual and you could search based on your own tags. This is not likely for many reasons.

Google will not likely add tags soon because they all have the belief that there should be no added context to searches. They believe that each document should be self explanatory, which is a necessary evil for them (since allowing that tag dynamic in their search engine would totally corrupt results because of the asshat factor).

Gmail is designed the way it is because of Google's ideology, which is their strength and weakness.

Distinctive features? (1)

Aufero (993962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694152)

Web 2.0 has no distinctive features.

Re:Distinctive features? (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694392)

Especially not tags. Have people already forgotten the meta tags that web pages used to use to describe themselves to search engines? They never worked because porn sites would just add a bunch of tags to their sites to get their sites to show up in the results for searches as diverse as "FDR Presidency" to "Birthday Cake recipes". People got so fed up with them that when a new search engine came along that didn't use meta tags in determining what a page is about, people instantly flocked to it. Now, in an ironic twist, the same company that launched that search engine is leading a movement back to tags. I'll give you about 8 months before people start abusing this technology as well. You can already start to see this abuse right here on /., as whenever a controversial story pops up it quickly picks up the tags "fud" or "notfud" (or often both).

Re:Distinctive features? (4, Funny)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694524)

And how, exactly, are people going to abuse the labels you use to organize your own email?

Re:Distinctive features? (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694908)

Email labels are nothing more than glorified folders which have been around for years. But Blogger labels (which this article also talks about) are easy to abuse, as is many other so-called "Web 2.0" tagging systems around nowadays.

Re:Distinctive features? (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694938)

If this inanity continues long enough, the next+1 version of Outlook will include a feature where you can force the recipient's client to misfile the mail you send them into categories specified in one of the headers. It will be marketed as a way for bosses to force their workers to follow "the system", so all PHBs will have the group policies set to prevent you from turning this feature off.

Within six weeks of its release, the amount of spam will have increased by over an order of magnitude, because you now get one version of each spam delivered into each folder.

You say (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694168)

You say Tomato (tah-mah-tow), I say Tomato (toe-may-toe).

Re:You say (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694442)

Lets call the whole thing off?

Plain English (3, Interesting)

TwelveInches (976724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694176)

Tag sounds like it is a temporary attachment, to be removed on arrival at its destination. Label sound as if it is a permanent attachment. At least, that is how it sounds to me who doesn't work with html etc.

Re:Plain English (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694228)

Tag sounds like it is a temporary attachment, to be removed on arrival at its destination.

And even then it can only be removed by the consumer. Anyone else who does so risks doing so under penalty of law. ; )

Re:Plain English (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694376)

Well, this clearly shows the response to the question posed above asking what the release phase of the alpha-tag/beta-label would be: matress.

Hmm... not quite the same ring. I hope everything stays in alpha or beta just so I don't have to start matressing my links.

Re:Plain English (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694250)

Agree. If you were cleaning up your garage and organizing things into different bins or cabinets or whatever, you'd "LABEL" the bins as to their contents, not "TAG" them.

Tag vs Label (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694184)

Tags are meant to be a general description- something which can be more or less universally agreed upon. Labels on the other hand are personal and thus can either be descriptive or refer to an action which should be taken in regards to the thing being labeled.

Desktop email clients use term labels (5, Informative)

grag (597728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694198)

Eudora and Thunderbird use the term labels. MS Entourage and MS Outlook use the term categories. By the way, is there some standards document like RFC saying any web app, especially webmail, has to use the term tags?

Re:Desktop email clients use term labels (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694870)

As does the almost forgotten M2 email client in Opera, the first place I know of that scrapped the idea of folders in favor of labels.

future patenting and copyright claims? (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694208)

Are they preparing for some sort of application which will include a future copyrighting/patenting claim on a word containing "label" because they can't do it with the word "tag"?

A bit like the "iPhone" fuss?

(sorry, not a lawyer so probably mixing up patenting and copyrighting, you know, something that people would think of as just a fun word in most places but will lead to somebody sueing somebody else for multiple trillions of dollars in the the USA ;-) )

Re:future patenting and copyright claims? (1, Offtopic)

flooey (695860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694558)

sorry, not a lawyer so probably mixing up patenting and copyrighting

Just because this is commonly mixed up, I figured I'd let you know that you're actually talking about trademarks, the third major kind of intellectual property (along with patents and copyright).

Patents are concerned with new and novel (at least, in theory) inventions and give the holder of the patent a monopoly over whatever was patented in exchange for telling the entire world how to make whatever it is.

Copyright is concerned with creative works (including software code, nowadays) and prevents people from distributing or creating derivatives of them without the creator's permission.

Trademark is concerned with the naming of things and is intended to prevent customer confusion by keeping two entities from naming products in very similar ways.

Of the three, I personally think trademark is the one that's set up the best. If you don't actually use your trademark, you lose it, and the only basis to claim infringement is the likelihood of customer confusion. Thus, you can have Bass beer along with Bass shoe stores, but you can't name your new clothing store Target.

Which sounds less evil? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694236)

Label makes it sound as if you're just applying a name to it for sorting. Tagging sounds as if you're trying to track it for nefarious evil purposes. If you wanted to sound less evil what would you use? It's all in marketing your product folks.

Graffiti... (5, Interesting)

Bazman (4849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694238)

'Tagging' is when you put a mark on someone else's property... Hence maybe tagging is what other people do to your content (as here on slashdot) whereas labelling is what you do to your gmail messages... uh, maybe.

Maybe google just think tagging sounds like graffiti-talk...

Tagged, I mean labelled "whocares" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694240)

Quite frankly, who cares?

Re:Tagged, I mean labelled "whocares" (1)

Onyma (1018104) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694272)

I'm with A Non-Cow. Who cares.

For Fucks Sake (5, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694278)

That's it I'm off. You've driven me out of the house into the pissing rain where I'm going to get soaking wet... I hope you're happy with yourselves. I'll have to mingle with... "people"... I may catch something, if I do, I'll blame you.

 

Re:For Fucks Sake (1, Funny)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694476)

+1 Insightful

I hope people settle on "label" (5, Insightful)

kirun (658684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694284)

"Tagging" is often used to refer to graffiti, as well as the more positive meanings. Label almost always refers to the concept of "Something carrying identifying information". So, I think that "label" is clearer. Also, I wish everywhere would stick to comma separation, as this more closely fits with how lists are usually written, but that's another story (that was posted the other day).

Re:I hope people settle on "label" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694876)

"but that's another story (that was posted the other day)."

Just wait, it will probably be posted again tomorrow.

(I keed, I keed)

Slashdot tags (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694290)

This kind of discussion obscures the real point: that tags (or labels) are only as good as the userbase that creates them. For example, the OS X Vs. Vista story a little while ago - the tags were "yes", "no", "FUD" etc., which are worthless when you come to sort stories out (seriously, what kind of person uses "yes" as a search term?).

Not "yes" by itself, but "yes, Yes, YEs YESSSSSS" (5, Funny)

pem (1013437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694464)

...can be an invaluable search term.

Because (1)

James A. V. Joyce (798462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694292)

"Tag" is a retarded Web 2.0-ism.

Looks great but (1)

BeoCluster (995566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694304)

Can I Make a Beowulf cluster of Labels ?

Less confusion on their end but more for the web (1)

VGfort (963346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694312)

Using the word tag could be confusing to other web developers (html tags)

Re:Less confusion on their end but more for the we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694396)

It's only confusing to "developers" that don't understand tags in markup are only used to delimit an element and it's attributes.

Labels vs. Tags (2, Interesting)

jvlb (636475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694316)

Perhaps Google simply wants to avoid the graffiti conotations associated with "tagging".

Perhaps because... It really doesn't matter? (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694320)

Why is Google using inconsistent terminology in its products for such an important term?

Important term?

Puh-lease.

You have a bunch of websites, many of which call themselves the buzzword-2.0 of the week, that have implemented a feature that has zero standardization or between-site meaning. Most of these sites actually allow users to post comments, making one-word comments completely pointless. Though someone will probably point me to a counterexample, I have yet to see a site that lets you meaningfully search or filter by tags.

On that point, note the key word, "meaningfully". Check out Amazon's tags for the best I've seen yet, and it still sucks so hard that you have a dozen words all describing (almost) the same thing - "Almost", except that you'd have to check every single one of them to find the 1% that they don't overlap. Example: "green", "environment", "environmental", "conservation", "sustainability", and a handful of similar words all mean the same thing, yet point to slightly different lists; And on those lists, do you find environmentally-friendly products? No. You find nothing but books of pseudoscience written by and for zealots.



I'll worry about what to call these things if (not "when") they actually take on some usefulness. Until then, you can call them "snergs" for all I care.

Re:Perhaps because... It really doesn't matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694604)

Though someone will probably point me to a counterexample, I have yet to see a site that lets you meaningfully search or filter by tags.


Well, I'd have to say cheggit [cheggit.net] does a fair job, with commenters frequently reminding posters to use more standardized tags, or to add, for instance, and, erm "actress"'s name to the tags.

Posting as an AC for obvious reasons..

Re:Perhaps because... It really doesn't matter? (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694964)

I fail to see your point. At least three of those tags have Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century [amazon.com] as it's top pick in that category. With not one neo-con book in the list. Speaking of neo-com I typed in 'fud' to search the tags and only came across one book, and a search on 'lies' seemed to be Ann (happy widow) Coulter's featured page. Interestingly enough, 'truth' had a similar list as 'lies'. Fairly useless for simple common words, but it does allow people to express themselves, how could that be a bad thing? Eventually I see it as a way to flag certain categories like 'controversial', 'pop-culture' even if those words aren't common tags for the item, as 'controversial' items would often have both 'lies' and 'truth' as tags.

The Difference Is Obvious (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694322)

For anyone who has ever purchased clothing before, the difference between 'label' and 'tag' is obvious.


The 'label' is where the size and washing instructions are.
The 'tag' is where the price is.

Re:The Difference Is Obvious (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694356)

Google is going be sued by the companies that control the distribution of music in physical form, historically known as "labels". Look what happened to Lindows.

Another good use for labels.. (5, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694374)

I have made extensive use of the 'label' feature in gmail like I am sure many others here have too and I have found it very handy. Another aspect of my computing life that I found DESPERATELY needed labels was my music collection.

I have always organized my music in Genre - Artist - Album - song format, but I have found that too many songs would be multi-genre.
(ie. most modern Top40 songs today are also Rap/Dance/Hip-Hop)

So as a result my collection became mass-sorted into one of four major directories:

Rock/Alternative
Pop/Top 40/Rap/Hip Hop/Dance/Techno
Blues/R & B
Other

The ability to 'quickly find' a desired song became impossible.

Along came iTunes and it was awesome, but lacking.
Along came Amarok and it was better, but lacking.
Now Amarok has added a new feature called Labels, and I am in love (but it is still lacking).

Now I can ignore the Genre headache, and just use labels to identify what Genres of music that apply to the song.

This works only as long as I use Amarok for my music player. I am still SOL if i want to just browse the filesystem and grab a couple of songs on the spur of the moment.

What we need is a file system label structure that can/will apply to all files that we use.
Where to store Aunt Betty's cookie recipe? ~/docs/recipes ~/docs/aunt betty/ ~/docs/cookies

A bad solution is to create sym-links everywhere. A better solution would be to have labels appear as virtual directories.

Re:Another good use for labels.. (1)

ickoonite (639305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694516)

What is wrong with using iTunes and having it organise your music folders for you, i.e. by Artist then Album? Smart playlists allow you to group by genre, although in your case, you might find it more useful to put your additional genres in the comment field, which smart playlists can also use in criteria specification. That way, you can always find what you are looking for within iTunes and, because of the logical folder sorting, you can do so too from the filesystem.

I've known various people who have these cumbersome filing systems for stuff - music is a common one, although one friend even harboured a strong dislike for Windows's Program Files folder, and had some very odd mess elsewhere on the filesystem, categorising installed software in some complicated way. I never understood the point of that either, because, like iTunes in the example above, the Start Menu should have been the level at which he organised his software, not the filesystem.

Make life easy for yourself - there is nothing simpler than Artist/Album.

iqu :)

Re:Another good use for labels.. (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694550)


Make life easy for yourself - there is nothing simpler than Artist/Album.


But finding music if I am in the mood for something fast and frantic for fragging in a FPS genre - artist can't be beat.
I can't/won't run itunes because I use Linux.

My sorting method worked fine in the mid-90's when I started because most of my collection was small, now that I have a HUGE collection, it's not so simple.

One of these days I'll just give-up the thought/effort of browsing my files manually and just use Amarok to play all my songs.

And "keywords" are? (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694390)

Come on... terminology comes and goes... AOL had keywords, web 2.0 has tags.

tag sounds cooler (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694412)

lets be clear the reason why tag is more prevalent, it sounds cooler. While it might not be as logical a choice as Label it sounds more interesting and up-to-date. I doubt many people will associate tags with xml/html - I never did and I've been writing websites for a long time.

It does actually annoy me when places use terms other than tags for tagging stuff; I'm just used to that term and the process that goes with it. However this is non-story as a story can get.

If it REALLY bothers you, write a greasemonkey script that goes through google pages and replaces the word Label with the word Tag.

Web 2.0 bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694424)

"The word 'tags' is the one in common use on the Web today and is one of the distinctive features of Web 2.0.

Stopped reading right there. Would all you moron idiot 2.0 blogging script kiddy tards just die in a fire? Thanks. And quit the whining.

Is Slashdot trying to find out how low it can go, lately?

Keywords? (2, Insightful)

SteveHeadroom (13143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694502)

Tags? Labels? Um, weren't these things just called "keywords" back in the Web 1.0 days?

Re:Keywords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694644)

They are still called keywords among sane people.

Why? (3, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694522)

Why is Google using inconsistent terminology in its products for such an important term? Is there a real difference between a tag and a label?
Does anyone else find this sentence utterly ridiculous? I do. I for one don't really care about whether google calls them tags or labels and I am unable to see how it is an important term.

Re:Why? (0, Redundant)

Wooloomooloo (902011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694594)

I for one welcome our new labelling overlords.

*gets modded reduntant*

What you're missing (4, Insightful)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694542)

Why is Google using inconsistent terminology in its products for such an important term?



Because it's not an important term.

In reality... (1)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694570)

"The word 'labels' is the one in common use on Google today and is one of the distinctive features of Google. Ever since Web 2.0 came out, Web 2.0 has decided to use the term 'tag' instead of the term 'label' despite they are basically the exact same thing and have the exact same function. Why is Web 2.0 using inconsistent terminology in its products for such an important term? Is there a real difference between a tag and a label?"

Minutia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694612)

More importantly: How many Google's can dance on the head of a pin?

tags? nihil novi (1)

porneL (674499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694620)

Heck, I see no difference between tags and keywords (except in coolness factor).

Whatever it's called, it's still Metadata (0, Offtopic)

macguys (472025) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694682)

However, having a standard is important for interopperability. I suggest that folk look at the Dublin Core metadata standards. Check out the Wikipedia article on Dublin Core [wikipedia.org] .

MPLS Tag Switching vs Label Switching (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694722)

Kind of reminds you of Cisco's switch from their terminology for tag switching to the more common label switching, doesn't it? Check out the Cisco documentation [cisco.com] . It's not a direct comparison, but it does "kind of" remind you.

connotations of label vs tag (2, Insightful)

loonicks (807801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694728)

When I hear the word 'tag' outside of the computing domain, all I think of is 'price tag'. When I own something and want to set it apart from other things, I don't say "I'll put a tag on this," I say "I'll put a label on this." Label sounds like a more appropriate word for marking any particular object. I think it makes slightly more sense to non-techie folks.

Tags, labels and categories (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694746)


Tags are a relatively new phenomenon as people discovered they can tag using tools like del.icio.us. But are tags, labels and directories the same thing? I've heard people say so, but I think ultimately "directories," or hierarchical categories, are most useful.

For example, the same word can mean different things in a different context (river: bank, or institution: bank, or even colour: black, lastname: black), and a larger number of tags is simply unwieldy. Better to have a browser interface. The best of which is combined with a keyword search (which should be combined with a sense-sensitive thesaurus so concepts are not repeated - wordnet has a number of libraries that could be suitable).

I'm working on something like this for a health project, but I'm not going to have the time to complete it in full glory.

In a way, though, the only difference is identifying a "separator" - if there were a common convention for hierarchies, based on some existing concept, like directory paths, xpath expressions, etc, we'd have the best of both worlds. But having normal people use these conventions would need to be part of the conversion. THEN we could have the same system for organizing everything.

Do we have only one slot for every concept? (1)

adoarns (718596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694768)

Please tell me why this is fucking front-page stuff.

Label == tag. Pull out your thesaurus, go to a blank page, and scribble it in there.

Of course, back in the old days.. (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694770)

Of course, back in the old days we used to call them 'keywords'.

Look at that shark! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694824)

Slashdot just fucking jumped it!

Seriously, this is without question the aboslutely most worthless "article" I have ever seen. And I was here during the Michael Simms and Timothy period!

This is something I would expect to find on Digg. Is Slashdot feeling the heat from Digg, or are you people just fucking retarded? Either way, this "issue" is so utterly pointless that people will be dumber for having read about it.

Labels for this post: fucking, retarded

Oh my god (1)

nirnimesh (678098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694898)

Oh my God. The attention-seekers! Write a blog-post about an irrelevant topic, and then write a slashdot story on it. Woah! And what's up with the mods who accept such stories?
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