netmeg - 7:14 pm on Jan 30, 2013 (gmt 0)
(Disclaimer: I don't have but a handful of images across all my sites, and I don't care about the ones I do have, so this change isn't doing anything for me one way or the other)
#1 - Google's not going to change back (even if they get a bunch of flack about it, or end up in court, it'll take years) so start developing your alternative strategies NOW. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.
#2 - You already know the argument they'll use, because it's the same one they used when newspapers complained - if you don't want the images in Google, then block them. You won't get the free traffic, but that's the deal. If most of your traffic was coming from images, and is gone now, you might as well block them.
#3 - The FTC just basically said that Google's previous changes were not harming the consumers and completely ignored website owners - don't look for THAT to change any time soon. They're not particularly educated on all the issues, and so far, they haven't cared any more about other websites and publishers than Google does.
#4 - I reiterate - you are very unlikely to see any changes that will help you in the next few months to years, so the time to change your model is now.