What is this?
It’s a map of 33,000 English nouns. Each tiny rectangle corresponds to a noun. The color of the rectangle has been assigned a color, based on an internet image search for that noun. The words are clustered so that similar words are near each other. You can move your mouse around the map to see what word a rectangle represents. You can also click and zoom in, to see individual clusters. The gallery page has many examples.
Can I pick a color and see what word it corresponds to?
Yes. Click on the “color” button. That will arrange the words by hue and brightness, forming a kind of color chooser. Move the mouse over the rectangles to see what words they correspond to.
Can I type a word and see what color it is?
Yes. Type the word into the “all starting with” text box. As you type, the map will narrow down to show all the words starting with the letters you’ve typed.
How exactly did you assign colors?
For each word, we performed a Yahoo image search and retrieved 50 image results. (If fewer than 50 images were found, we deemed the word too obscure and discarded it.) Then for each image we averaged the values of the pixels in the middle and then averaged those 50 results. We brightened the colors slightly for display.