July 30, 2008

Amazon Web Services Launches New Web-Based Tools for Mechanical Turk

Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, has launched a new set of web-based tools for Amazon Mechanical Turk that make it easy for businesses to use Mechanical Turk to outsource work to an on-demand, scalable workforce via a graphical interface without writing any code.

The new web-based interface guides business users through the process of designing Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), publishing up to hundreds of thousands of HITs simultaneously, monitoring worker activity, and retrieving work results.

In addition to a web-based editor for designing HITs, Amazon Mechanical Turk, a market place for work, claims to offer several sample templates to help requesters get started. Sample HIT templates represent best practices from the past two years and cover common use cases of Mechanical Turk, such as image tagging, search relevance, data collection, data extraction, surveys, site filtering, image filtering, product comparison, product categorization and data correction.

Each sample HIT template defines the HIT's look and feel, and allows specification of payment terms and worker requirements. These sample HIT templates can be used as is or modified to address a different use case.

Once a requester has designed their HIT template, they can enter each task individually, but most will take advantage of the new bulk-uploading capabilities. The new tools allow requesters to use spreadsheets they may already be using to manage the new data they are putting in and retrieving from Mechanical Turk.