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New Image Search Interface Seen in Asia - BIG change for webmasters

     
1:29 pm on Jan 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ok - this is huge - I'm only seeing it on google.com.my (Malaysia) currently - but I'll look around on the other sites soon.

Search for any image term: "widget" for example.

Old behaviour - you get a thumbnail - and a link to the site below - which has the context, advertising etc. This is what I see on google.com

New behaviour: as shown on google.com.my

The image is now HOT-LINKED and embedded in a gallery window.

This changes everything! - before - a well placed image would bring in traffic - and a enough revenue to cover costs - etc. Now the image is in a gallery (Bing style) - I imagine click through rates will be negligible to the host page, context is lost, any copyright notifications gone, and no protection for the image.

The information from the site is just a small panel to the right.

If this is introduced globally I will have to ban google from images!

[edited by: tedster at 3:11 am (utc) on Feb 6, 2010]

2:46 pm on Jan 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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not seeing it from the us.
4:13 pm on Jan 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Not seeing it on .uk
On checking for this I have noticed a change in results. It may be coincidence but it looks like a closer tie between the pages which get found on a content search and the images that display. I have a gallery of over 100 images of a particular music festivall. The two that appear on the first page are the two whose performer names are the most searched on a content search, even though the image search is for the festival name.
8:29 pm on Jan 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Not seeing it here either (in the UK, looking on .co.uk, .com and .com.my).
2:42 am on Jan 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It's not just on the Malaysia site: looking through my logs - and grepping for imglanding & google

google.cn (China)
google.co.id (Indonesia)
google.ru (Russia)
google.com.ph (Philippines)
google.com.vn (Vietnam)
google.com.sg (Singapore)
google.co.jp (Japan)
google.co.th (Thailand)
google.co.kr (Korea)

Starting out of Asia... though I too only see the behaviour on google.com.my (where I'm currently located)

Accessing by IP (64.233.181.106 .my) gives the old behaviour.

I have the first reports of it from .ru and .kr from back in Oct 2009.

Can anyone else in Asia confirm this?

3:11 am on Feb 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well - no one else biting? - this is huge fellow webmasters - and not good for you - but there will be outrage if it hits the .com I'm sure.

Anyway - be prepared - here is a .htaccess (Apache mod_rewrite) rule that unfortunately doesn't quite work on the google gallery as intended - due the imglanding page using ajax to hotlink to the image (it fails to load rather than displaying a protest message) - but issuing a 302 Redirect is a lot less server and bandwidth heavy. Also disables general hot-linking from elsewhere.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://([a-zA-Z0-9\-]+)\.yourdomain\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*\.jpg)$ http://www.example.com/no-hotlinking-example.jpg [R=302,L]

The example above allows yourdomain.com and subdomains of one level - don't use (.+) as google have your domain in their gallery.

Ps. If you're using Amazon s3 or other cloud service this could get very expensive very quickly.

3:37 am on Feb 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Try

RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/no-hotlinking-example.jpg$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://([a-zA-Z0-9\-]+)\.yourdomain\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*\.jpg)$ http://www.example.com/no-hotlinking-example.jpg [R=302,L]

I've a different approach;

httdp.conf for the cdn/file server


Header set Cache-Control "max-age=0, private, no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate"
Header append Vary Referer

<FilesMatch "\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|png|ico)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=31536000, public"
</FilesMatch>

<FilesMatch "\.(doc|mov|mp4|pdf|ppt|rtf|xls|zip)$">
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=3600, public"
</FilesMatch>

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www|cdn)\.domain.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|doc|mov|mp4|pdf|ppt|rtf|xls|zip)$ /cdn/index.html

index.html


...
//redirect to the main page if javascript is disabled
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="1; URL=http://www.domain.com/">
...
<body onload="window.location='http://www.domain.com/detectfile?file='+self.location">
...

CDN serves index.html instead of the hotlinked file (with no-cache header), index.html redirects to the script on server, and the script finds the page url with that image/file and redirects to it.

12:47 pm on Feb 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes, it's happened also for google image in Indonesia. You can get the original size of images right from google.

From now on, searchers don't need to visit my site to get all images.

Google now has a giant images library to display for Asia visitors.

5:59 pm on Feb 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google Japan launched a feature almost the same as this last August.
[googlejapan.blogspot.com...]

But thumbnails were placed at the right side not at the bottom at that time.

Anyhow I can see it everytime I search here in Japan.

2:40 am on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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SERoundatble now has some coverage [seroundtable.com] of our discussion here, and their article includes a screen capture of the new interface.
7:26 am on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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a screen capture of the new interface


Nice, I like it.

Well, not the interface or feature, but the fact that Google now displays large images (not just previews). Expect Google getting sued for copyright violation by photographers around the world! Google are standing on shaky ground if they present a larger image (or even better: the original!) as part of their search results. Google has the money, and is located in the U.S., so courts can go after Google easily. :-)

What joy!
1:20 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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They must have turned it off. I can't see it from Japan or China at all right now.

<edit> It's browser dependent. I can't see it in Opera, but FF and Chrome show it.
1:49 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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zett, they're not on shaky ground at all. They'll just say what they've said to a hundred different groups of people: "If you don't like it, just opt out."

we live in a world of opt out. Get used to it.

sigh :-(
1:56 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"If you don't like it, just opt out."


Sure. That's what they'll say. No doubt about that.

However, especially with audio-visual content (i.e. movies, songs, and photographs) they ARE on very shaky ground. And they ARE in the U.S. where copyright still has some value.
4:25 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I want you to be right more than I want to find jessica alba under my tree on Christmas morning. But I fear otherwise.
5:08 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It's a big paradigm shift in webmaster's mind.
For years we believe it's a sin to scrapt others people site content.

But now, gorg display answer snippes right in the serp so user probably don't need to visit websites anymore. Not to mention other google services in page #1 result.

Later on hot-link images from websites and become universal gallery (currently premiere to some part of Asia visitors).
Next: maybe put ads beside image display?

So, can I also hot-link images from other sites? Since our raw model do it. :)

The big question I need to know is do websites become "back office" support to serve the "front office" (SE), since websites become more and more disappear from customer (internet user).
5:19 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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BTW, how to automatically embed watermark to image when it serve to display?
Best if it doesn't need to modify html or php. Through .htaccess maybe? Any expert kindly enough to help?
5:56 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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So, Google is taking another step into hijacking other peoples content without compensation.

Fits nicely into the "bring the content to the user" movement that wants people to post their content on Facebook.

Fast Forward five years and we are left with our content displayed on Google, Facebook and all the other scrapers without getting at least visitors to our websites in return?

I guess it is time to join the 'invisible web' - those who want to read my content will need to subscribe for access (paid or not is a different discussion).
6:41 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I can see Google getting banned from Europe for breaking our copyright laws.
7:26 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think we'll all get to see google dig its own hole and bury itself.
7:54 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In my inbox was a newsletter with a link to the New York Times on the subject of Google and Copyright in Europe.

[nytimes.com...]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:04 pm (utc) on Feb. 2, 2010]

11:41 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I saw this coming when Bing first launched and did something similar. I DISLIKE both companies decision to do this but for different reasons.

To Google, it wasn't broken so don't fix it!

To Bing, if you insist on showing my images PLEASE stop linking to the site that is hotlinking MY image.

I take pictures of things myself and modify them in photoshop so I recognize my own pictures quite easily, to see them ranked well and linking to other peoples sites burns me a little. In the case of Bing seeing MY images on MY server being credited to a site that is hotlinking it from me is inexcusable. I suspect copyright lawsuits if this comes to the U.S. and I'm afraid I would support those suits given the current state of what amounts to image theft by major companies.

Isn't it about time a major search company busts out their OWN content instead of "gathering" other peoples content to present as their own mashup? I still think search needs to avoid getting into the content business.
1:45 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Isn't it about time a major search company busts out their OWN content


its not a search engines job to create content...but its also not their job to steal it.
1:47 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing it on .co.th with opera. Funny doing the search I see a site that ripped my image :(
1:51 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Re: nytimes.com- Google Europe [nytimes.com] - scary the way politicians think the answer to problems like these are new laws (or taxes) - how about getting serious with the ones we already have?

Please note this is already happening with your images:

114.59.#*$!.yyy - - [03/Feb/2010:01:34:07 +0000] "GET /Photos/example.jpg HTTP/1.1" 200 55499 http://images.google.co.id/imglanding?q=example&imgurl=http://img5.example.com/Photos/example.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.example.com/Photos/&usg=nj23nf8h3jh23hd23=&h=450&w=600&sz=55&hl=id&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=-fNs9eAwwXm1TM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dexample%26hl%3Did%26sa%3DG%26um%3D1&sa=G&um=1&start=0


People searching in most of Asia are given this interface already - you'll see lines like that above in your log.

Ok - it's not a huge percentage - but on my gallery - 1/6th of image traffic is from the imglanding interface vs the old imgres. (today)
2:11 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Rather than producing content, search companies should stay strong at search, whilst being decent to websites that merit this (ie, not scrapers, blatant MFAs and so forth).
This indeed means sending traffic where traffic's due.
In the case of images, a clear rip-off to show full-size versions. I'd hope there were some google engineers saying this wasn't right, even as bean-counters and the who-cares-about-evil folk pushed for them.

I'm not sure how valuable big images are in search engines; if truly better than thumbnails [why? - some people can't see small ones well?], just maybe could have some kind of big n obvious watermark thingy (copyright not ours: click to visit website and view proper version, say). Tho even this maybe not good.
4:06 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Please note this is already happening with your images

images.google.co.id/imglanding

Which throws up two interesting questions:

1) Why are they testing this feature (or are they rolling out already) in APAC first?

2) If the referring Google service is running on a non-U.S. domain, can Google still be taken to court over this in the U.S.?

Do no evil?
5:16 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I guess Google is quickly approaching the point where they employ more lawyers than engineers given the pace they introduce new features based on shady business practices.
7:22 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am not a professional photographer, I do love taking pictures and use them a lot on my websites usually with a Creative Commons 3.0 Licence - allowing others to use the images as long as they give attribution.

I may have to change from having Creative Commons Licence to one that clearly states Copyright - no copies without written approval or payment.

Google should stop trying to take over the world!
10:46 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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BTW, how to automatically embed watermark to image when it serve to display?
Best if it doesn't need to modify html or php.

You can use php's image functions to add a watermark. Or you can open your favourite image editing programme and use the batch processing and/or script functions to speed up the process. It's worth looking into this if you have lots of images.

However watermarking only goes so far. It might prevent some infringers and help with branding, but if your images are showing full-size on someone else's search engine than the potential visitor has little incentive to click through.
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