Multimedia Systems

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 53–67 | Cite as

Drawing on mobile crowds via social media

Case UbiAsk: image based mobile social search across languages
  • Yefeng LiuEmail author
  • Vili Lehdonvirta
  • Todorka Alexandrova
  • Tatsuo Nakajima
Regular Paper


Recent years have witnessed the impact of crowdsourcing model, social media, and pervasive computing. We believe that the more significant impact is latent in the convergence of these ideas on the mobile platform. In this paper, we introduce a mobile crowdsourcing platform that is built on top of social media. A mobile crowdsourcing application called UbiAsk is presented as one study case. UbiAsk is designed for assisting foreign visitors by involving the local crowd to answer their image-based questions at hand in a timely fashion. Existing social media platforms are used to rapidly allocate microtasks to a wide network of local residents. The resulting data are visualized using a mapping tool as well as augmented reality (AR) technology, result in a visual information pool for public use. We ran a controlled field experiment in Japan for 6 weeks with 55 participants. The results demonstrated a reliable performance on response speed and response quantity: half of the requests were answered within 10 min, 75% of requests were answered within 30 min, and on average every request had 4.2 answers. Especially in the afternoon, evening and night, nearly 88% requests were answered in average approximately 10 min, with more than 4 answers per request. In terms of participation motivation, we found the top active crowdworkers were more driven by intrinsic motivations rather than any of the extrinsic incentives (game-based incentives and social incentives) we designed.


Mobile crowdsourcing Mobile human computation Mobile social search Incentive mechanisms Mobile image translation Mobile Q&A 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yefeng Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vili Lehdonvirta
    • 2
  • Todorka Alexandrova
    • 1
  • Tatsuo Nakajima
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science and EngineeringWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Helsinki Institute for Information TechnologyAaltoFinland

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