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how does Google categorize an image?

image file name? alt text? title? surrounding text?

2:45 am on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been wondering how Google categorizes an image for Google Images. Keywords in the image file name? Alt text? Title?

I didn't even know images could have titles till recently, and it looks like all hand coding to get them done. Hard to imagine that all the images in the Google image index have titles.

I make <products> and mixed media so I'd like images of my work to show up in the Google Images eventually.

[edited by: Marcia at 2:57 am (utc) on Mar. 30, 2004]
[edit reason] Specifics not necessary. [/edit]

3:06 am on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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the file-name, the surrounding text, site/page relevancy, alt text ..

this ,however, is just my judgement on it.

12:15 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If you search for "OCR Google" then you'll find a GG quote from six months ago saying that they don't do optical character recognition on images. Don't know whether that's still true.
12:27 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's a mystery - but no-one can deny they make a great job of it.

If you want your images to show up, the most obvious thing would be to make your image titles very descriptive, and not worry about their length too much (I guess most of us use short image titles for convenience) but there's no reason why you couldn't name one: seaside-lighthouse-sunny-aardvark.gif etc. And put further hints in the <alt> tag

(all assuming its a picture of an aardvark at the seaside of course)

On the other side of the coin, I spent a lot of money on a graphic of a familiar item, that I knew would show up well in image searches, and really didn't want stolen. So I ensured its title was highly non-descriptive - e.g. image1.gif, with an alt tag saying just 'banner.' It won't stop individuals stealing it, but it will stop *thousands* of people stealing it through an image search under the assumption it is somehow in the public domain!