Trial and Error: Cache

Yesterday I had a look at pictures other people take. Today I had a look at well, what I look at. I have analyzed the cache of my browser and specifically the images it has cached.

My browser downloads a ton of websites each day. Every website I browse is stored for a short period in a folder on my hard drive; the browsers cache. From this cache I have taken all the images so I could get an idea of what I am being fed on day to day basis.

Of course, I love to share with everybody. But I also like my privacy. Besides, the cache was much to big to analyse each image by itself. So instead of using each image as they are stored, I have reduced each image to a pixel of one colour. This colour is the average of the entire image.

The above image was viewed by me yesterday for my experiment.

This is the exact same image after averaging it. Almost exactly neutral gray, with a tiny hint of blue.

I did this with all 5940 images in my cache. When you resize these coloured blocks and put them into a grid, this is wat you get.

I could not make much of that. The only thing that stood out is the big band with a kind of sandy colour. I checked, and these are bits of map from Google Maps.

A bit of order helps when you want to analyze.  My next step was to sort all the pixels by brightness.

A lot of gray and in the middle colours in my web experience apparently. And not a pretty picture either.

Adding a secondary sort by saturation makes it look better, but does not yield much more information.

Sorting by saturation instead of brightness yields a prettier picture but still does not add much info.

I have made some variations on this. Sorting by brightness, hue and saturation, while playing with a secondary sort as well.

Next attempt: splitting red, green and blue and sorting each separately. The result was pretty worthless. I will spare you the details.

My last attempt at showing some order was picking only one aspect.

This is the first, unsorted picture with just the hue varying.The Google Maps-band is now yellow.

And this is the same picture, but sorted by hue. It looks like a little rainbow now. Purple websites really do not seem to interest me.

Now the same trick for just the saturation, expressed in red.


The conclusion is that I do not see many saturated images.

Overall I would say that the Google Maps is what stands out most. And that was noticed before all my sorting. The results are also a bit grayish and I can give two reasons for this. The first is that a camera exposes an image in such a way that the brightness of averaged result should be around perfect gray; right in the middle. I have seen a lot of pictures the last few days, so this would explain a lot. The second reason is that a lot of images on the web, both design elements and pictures, feature a subject on a black or white background. This would explain why there is not a lot of colour present.

To take further conclusions from these images, I think I would have to compare them with other people. Maybe other people look at brighter websites, or more colourful, or I will discover that I really am a Google Maps addict. No surprise there.

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