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Google Businesses The Internet

Labels Not Tags, Says Google 284

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the a-tag-by-any-other-name dept.
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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Labels Not Tags, Says Google

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  • what is a tag ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:16AM (#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>

  • by Da Fokka (94074) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:17AM (#17694118) Homepage

    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?

    • by Ded Bob (67043)
      It will probably be gabel. We must not forget the 'g'. I just hope the gabel is not too costly. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pnewhook (788591)

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

      No, a 'Label' is a piece of paper or some other tangible medium with information on it that is firmly affixed to an item (like the Dell label on my monitor). A tag is the same thing, but instead of being attached directly on the product it it only partially attached such that it 'hangs off', such as the tag on my matress, or on the ear of the deer in my backyard that the environmentalist relased..

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kfg (145172)
      Because in Alpha we might want to change things quite a bit, so we tie them on with a bit of string. By the Beta phase we're more certain and willing to risk adhesive backing.

      And if it's in production...

      It'll be glossies with "Hello. My Name is" preprinted on them; with your choice of butterflies or ponies.

      KFG
  • Why tags? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by keitosama (990483)
    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bentley79 (1053828) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:43AM (#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.

  • by Inyu (919458) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:18AM (#17694124) Homepage
    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.
    • by kusanagi374 (776658) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:23AM (#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.
      • by Inyu (919458) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:55AM (#17694386) Homepage
        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Chabil Ha' (875116)
          ...Which has been done before too. What you're saying is that the relationships between your photos and the meta data is *not* hierarchical, it's relational. As the founding fathers of the RDBMS discovered, relationships between data need to allow for more than one parental relationship, as in a many to many relation.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FooAtWFU (699187)
          I disagree. In fact, I'll say that Google's use of "labels" is somewhat unlike the traditional "Web 2.0" buzzwordish use of tags. Why? Normal tags, you type in, or maybe (in the case of del.icio.us) type them in and add some from your 'tag cloud' that's floating around on the bottom of your screen. Gmail is different. With Gmail, you create the label beforehand, and select it from a drop-down menu. It encourages a much more selective sort of "labelling", whereas with tags, you can feel more free to go wild
    • by NineNine (235196)
      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.
      • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:10PM (#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.
        • by Bluesman (104513) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:46PM (#17695184) Homepage
          So why do directories have to be hierarchical?

          Let's say I make my folder as follows: /pictures/trip/2006/Christmas/pic001.jpg

          Why shouldn't I be able to type in: /trip/2006/Christmas/pictures/pic001.jpg

          And get the same result?

          Hierarchies are a horrible way to manage data, because no one "category" is always a subset of another. Pick the more general term here:

          Pictures
          2006
          Christmas
          Trip

          You can't. Or else it depends on a number of things. Do I take a lot of trips? How many pictures do I take on those trips? Do I only take pictures at Christmas or on trips? And so on.

          The only reason hierarchies seem like a good idea is because we've been using them since the birth of file systems, because computers at the time couldn't handle anything more expressive. It's time to move on.

          • by Teresita (982888) <`badinage1' `at' `netzero dot net'> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:05PM (#17695330) Homepage
            "The only reason hierarchies seem like a good idea is because we've been using them since the birth of file systems, because computers at the time couldn't handle anything more expressive. It's time to move on."

            The heirarchal structure of the file system was imposed by the Patriarchy. The new paradigm promoted by feminists is to group files and file "containers" into an equal but interconnected web of dependencies where they all sit around in a circle and any user (no scratch that, it sounds so oppressive), a participant, if she feels like it, can learn the community consensus reached by all the other background processes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by a.d.trick (894813)

            So why do directories have to be hierarchical?

            I can think of two reasons.

            1. It's more consistent. A file has one location, the location is always represented in the same way. Magic is evil.
            2. It's easier to manage. Under my home directory I have a dozen other directories (and many subdirectories). As it is, it's fairly easy to navigate; but if I didn't have this hierarchy, it would be a complete mess trying to organize the thousands of 'tags' or whatever.

            I'm sure there are better ways to organize files and

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by NineNine (235196)
          Aw, heck. Documents are easy compared to other files. Let's say that I want to poke around in my Windows system files to look for files that shouldn't be there (worms, or files from just plain bad installs). How would I "browse" the related files with tags? Hell, how do you find something that is tagged wrong?

          Directories are working just fine. I honestly can't think of a simpler, more effective way for handling massive amounts of files. If somebody wants to throw a harebrained "tag" system on top of t
        • 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.

          LOL. Someone had to re-state the bleeding obvious.

          My guess is that people are either lazy, or striving for a new level of ignorance. The grandparent's use of the term "obsolete" to characterise the above is espec
    • by kosmosik (654958)
      > 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
      • BFS did this very nicely. Each inode had space for a set of key-value pairs. You could create indexed structures for quickly searching any arbitrary key (which used the same on-disk structure as a directory), and have virtual folders that were created as a result of querying metadata. There were also Tracker (BeOS Finder) plugins that would extract metadata from files, such as ID3 tags in MP3s, and put it in the filesystem. You could arrange your music as artist/album/track.mp3, but later browse it base
    • There is work being done on this (at least in the research community). Search for some information on the "semantic desktop." The idea is to organize everything semantically. That way you can browse and search for things based on concepts (people, topic, date, location, etc.) instead of through folders. It would eliminate the need for users to manage the underlying file system, in fact, a database would probably be the most appropriate.
    • Agreed. I've already recently posted about this exact same problem, in the article about "The Need For A Tagging Standard"
      i.e.
      Example of why a file system should support tags [slashdot.org]

      Cheers

      --
      "Windows: Why it's file system was designed by idiots?".txt
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:32PM (#17695882) Homepage Journal
      I've thought about it but I think the idea needs a lot of work that's not being done.

      For one, tagging needs to be a lot easier, it's easy to make a folder to drop files into, but there's nothing I've used yet where I can drop items into a "tag folder" to automatically tag them. I think a hybrid system is the way to go, I might have two groups of files that are in folders of the same folder name, but they have different parent folders for a reason, to exclude them from each other, and searching systems usually don't let me take that into account.

      Anyway, what I'm saying is that I've had too many circumstances that spelunking folders was easier to do than performing a search and adding the correct exclusions to get what I want, to justify getting rid of the folder system. Maybe what is needed is a nested tagging system, subtags, I don't know, because sometimes a heirarchical system is the most effective way to find something.
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:20AM (#17694136)
    LABELLING beta!

    Get it Right, Dammit!
  • by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:20AM (#17694138) Homepage Journal
    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
    • by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:24AM (#17694162) Homepage Journal
      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?
      • "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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MP3Chuck (652277)
      "html/xml tags"

      For which I'm pretty sure the proper term is "element [w3.org]."
      • by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:52AM (#17694362) Homepage Journal
        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
        • by rednip (186217) * <[rednip] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:32AM (#17694630) Journal

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

            Well, since we were talking about this from the perspective of Google terminology for use in consumer apps (e.g. GMail) I thought the objective would clearly be to make it understandable to the masses. We're not talking about job security here, we're talking about convincing people to use GMail. This is marketing, not development. In other we don't care if it works, we care how it sounds.

            -stormin
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by JFMulder (59706)
          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mstone (8523)
        Actually, no. The W3C specs clearly distinguish between 'tags' and 'elements'.

        A tag is a token -- a sequence of characters that tell the parser a new element is about to start or end.

        An element is a logical unit composed of a start tag, and end tag, and optional PCDATA content. Or if the element doesn't take content, it can be expressed with an empty element tag.

        When you talk about a tag, you're talking about markup. When you talk about an element, you're (hopefully) talking about semantic structure. Ne
    • by julesh (229690)
      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 incompat
  • by DinZy (513280) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:21AM (#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.
  • You say Tomato (tah-mah-tow), I say Tomato (toe-may-toe).
  • Plain English (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TwelveInches (976724)
    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.
    • 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. ; )
      • by Firehed (942385)
        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.
    • 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.
  • by grag (597728) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:28AM (#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?
    • 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.
  • 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: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by flooey (695860)
      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
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bazman (4849) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:32AM (#17694238) Journal
    '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...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:33AM (#17694240)
    Quite frankly, who cares?
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:37AM (#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.

     
  • by kirun (658684) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:38AM (#17694284) Homepage Journal
    "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).
  • Slashdot tags (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:39AM (#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?).
  • Labels vs. Tags (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jvlb (636475)
    Perhaps Google simply wants to avoid the graffiti conotations associated with "tagging".
  • by pla (258480) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:45AM (#17694320) Journal
    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.
    • by rednip (186217) *
      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 coul
      • by pla (258480)
        I fail to see your point.

        Agreed - I thought it obvious that I don't really feel that strongly against pro-conservation books, but I bear the full blame for that assumption (you know what they say about that word...).

        Some of the books that come up really don't suck - I even own a few of them. But we won't save the world by reading, and I stand by my rant against the general uselessness of "tags".

        For example, I noticed the Amazon tags for the first time after the most recent discussion of CFLs on Slas
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:46AM (#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.

  • by B5_geek (638928) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @10:53AM (#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.
    • by ickoonite (639305)
      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 th
      • by B5_geek (638928)

        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 m

    • by netsharc (195805)
      I agree with you on the genre problem, not to mention that a lot of people miscategorize song genres... just because a hip-hop song is in a movie soundtrack, it gets "Soundtrack" as its genre. As far as I know "Soundtrack" technically means the audio track of a movie. When I got MediaMonkey to tag my MP3s (here's another, different definition of "tag", the ID3-tag) I just started removing genres from all of them. MediaMonkey has its own internal DB where you can classify songs according to their tempo, mood
    • See for me I see tags/labels as a way to make unorganized people appear to be organized. We'll take music for instance. Why would you sort by genre? Genre is an abstract and hard to define descriptor. I personally sort by artist in alphabetical order and I have no problem with organization.

      I may not be getting my initial point across though. Tags/labels only make it look like you're organized, nothing has really changed. You go from "one file in one folder" type of a setup (assuming no symlinks) to "one fi
      • > Why would you sort by genre?

        Because sometimes you're in the mood for
        * ambient (working -- such as Liquid Mind / Enya) that isn't distracting
        * rock or classical (gaming),
        * pop love ballads (loving the wife)

        etc.
        --
        "Q: Does the Windows filesystem suck? Indubitably".txt
  • Come on... terminology comes and goes... AOL had keywords, web 2.0 has tags.
  • 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 greasemon
  • Keywords? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SteveHeadroom (13143)
    Tags? Labels? Um, weren't these things just called "keywords" back in the Web 1.0 days?
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:17AM (#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.
  • by jdavidb (449077) * on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:21AM (#17694542) Homepage Journal

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



    Because it's not an important term.

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

  • 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.
  • 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 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 w
  • Of course, back in the old days we used to call them 'keywords'.
  • Tags usually hang off of shit (like shirts on sale,) whereas labels are usually stuck-on. :)
  • Both Docs.google.com and reader.google.com uses the term "tag" not label. Maybe gmail hasn't been updated yet as reader and docs are the newest of them.
  • Even the terminology within Google's RSS reader is inconsistent. In the first settings tab, labels/tags/categories/whatever are called "folders". However, the second tab which manages these whatevers is called "tags". I guess it is still in beta...
  • tags = flickr
    labels = gmail

    But to me it largely doesn't matter. The question is, WHY is Google wasting time on this branding stuff? Running dry on innovations? Hired the wrong marketing team?

    Speculate. Now.
  • "What's in a name? A pedantic pundit, by any other name, would still stink like a fart in an abattoir."

    ...Okay, maybe I'm paraphrasing a little.

  • I don't care (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sulli (195030) * on Saturday January 20, 2007 @05:12PM (#17696922) Journal
    so long as they leave out those awful tag table things with the different text sizes. How I HATE those awful things!

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.

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