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Google Knowledgebox Using My Images

     
5:09 pm on Sep 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google's Knowledgebox is, for certain phrases and words, using some of my images to illustrate the topic. If you click on the image it has the same effect as clicking on the image in image search, e.g. it shows the image and does not go to the site.

My initial thoughts on this:

i) it means that the search rankings CTR (impressions versus clicks) is pretty appalling for that site in Google Search Console but it does not seem to have had any negative effect on the site overall (if I was pushed, I would say on the contrary).
ii) the images are watermarked with my website address (meaning I am surprised they are using them) so I guess it is helping with branding the site. (Note: part of the website name could be construed as being connected with images although it is not principally a site concerned with images.)
iii) I guess the site and its content must at the least be considered reputable by Google for their machine-learning to choose those images...

Any other thoughts?
11:32 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi stever - I remember being upset the first time I saw them using my custom images in the KG that displayed a link to a competitors site... notice that I said "first time."
11:34 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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See
[blog.google...]
As long as the images are watermarked, it should be a bonus, and may well drive traffic..
11:35 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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i) no affect on ranking
ii) mine are watermarked as well. IMO it damages branding, giving the impression that these (watermarked) images are available for common use.
iii) I disagree. I don't think it means anything. Googlebot scrapes images from any place for any reason.


[fix typo]

[edited by: keyplyr at 12:29 am (utc) on Sep 26, 2018]

11:37 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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btw.. Whether a click on the images goes directly to the site , or not depends on where the searcher is..here ( for now ) images always go direct to the site when clicked..YMMV..
11:40 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In Image Search, the images are linked to the source page in the second step.

In the knowledge Graph, the image are usually not linked.
11:55 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In Image Search, the images are linked to the source page in the second step.

Here, in image search, you search, you get the images, you click, you go to the site..
Knowledge Graph..depends..frequently image links to site..
If there is a watermark on image, the searcher will know where it came from..if you are ecom , that can / may be useful to drive traffic..
I block G ( and all bots ) from most images ..
12:24 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Leosghost - You just said what I said, except for thinking watermarked image benefitting your site.

When an image, any image, is displayed somewhere other than my site, my business branding is diminished significantly. That image is now helping the plagiarizer. My site is no longer the only unique place the viewer can experience that image.

A watermark, in itself, does not protect branding. A strong argument can be made to the opposite. Now everyone can see that if Google can steal an image, why not them. Using a watermarked image anywhere else other than the source merely says, ha... the watermark means absolutely nothing.

Now, an advertising stamp across an image is a different matter. I do that and freely allow anyone and any site to use those images. I even spread them around social media for the explicit purpose of advertising my business.
12:48 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Watermark, advertising stamp..potato , potato..
I watermark, "stamp" ..they cant get what they see anywhere else..so..
We count "steps" differently .. :) But we probably walk upstairs the same way..
What we call the box that we ride in that moves vertically in a shaft between floors though..
2:58 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I helped Google with an answer by providing an image (without asking me for permission) for use in their box. The image took me about 10 or 15 minutes to put together. I'm unpaid for that 10 to 15 minutes and have no traffic from providing the service. I take solace in knowing I'm helping mankind and have been included in this new world of information delivery where what's yours is mine. Complaining about this minutia? I'll wait for the "Yellow Pages" moment. Hopefully I'm still alive at that time. That said, I'm now going to go listen to Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers". It just feels right. After that I'll likely wash out my eyes after trying to rid myself of some drivel I had the misfortune of reading in this thread.
3:19 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'll wait for the "Yellow Pages" moment.

Please excuse my ignorance but what is a "Yellow Pages" moment?
11:00 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I assume he means when the Yellow Pages died out because of the internet and/or Google and the ability to look up businesses online. In North America at least the Yellow Pages was the back half of the phone book which was a directory of businesses organized by categories (which they paid to be included in).
11:11 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yellow Pages
[yellowpages.com] is alive and well, one of the few active sucessful directories.

Inclusion is free for their basic listing. I see their bot several times a month.

However, they and other print media did suffer an almost fatal outcome due to the internet.
11:50 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just block your images from Google Search. It'll take less time than complaining.

[support.google.com...]
11:51 am on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Appreciate the responses...

Just a couple of comments in relation to them: I added the 'watermark' or 'stamp' (which is actually the www.mysite.com visible both in the image and in G's use of it) to avoid other sites hotlinking my images. The images are still useful for visitors to my site so I don't really care if G does or does not approve of watermarks. I seem to remember reading that they did not like them which was why I was slightly surprised that they were using my images.

Wrt branding, I was referring to more people become aware of my site and thus mentioning it or using it in a search. So, in that sense, I meant visibility or awareness rather than reputation, where the former is, imo, more important to G than the latter. (E.g. G is more likely to feature something if people are talking about it and does not particularly care what the tone of those conversations is.)

Added: @EditorialGuy Who was complaining?
1:49 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy Who was complaining?

I think that's pretty evident from the responses.

It would be nice if Google let you specify how your images could or couldn't be used (e.g., "yes" for regular image search and "no" for answer boxes and the like), or if all images in the "knowledge graph" were linked to the source pages or, better yet, to the pages where they were originally published. But until or unless that happens, image owners are stuck with deciding which approach is in their best interests (accepting the status quo, using watermarks, or simply saying "Go away" to the Google image bot.)

Side note: Many people (including a number of professional photographers in my field) believe that watermarks are ugly and look amateurish. I'm inclined to agree with them. The question you need to ask yourself is whether Google's use of your images in the "knowledge graph" is actually hurting you--and whether vandalizing your images with watermarks might not be hurting you more.
2:05 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As someone who makes images for a living ( including photos ) ,and who has gained that very good living for the past 45 years, I can assure you that watermarking does not look amateurish, any one who thinks it does..is not as much of a "pro" as you, or they would like us to believe..
3:20 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What gives Google the right to use your image to their benefit without your permission? The more we allow this behavior, the more it will happen. By ignoring it, you are (basically) giving implied consent.
3:37 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Cue the "fair use" choir..
3:41 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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btw..Copyright determines who can use what..and under the conventions on copyright that the USA has signed.."implied consent", does not exist..the right to use must be confirmed in writing, signed by the copyright holder..without that..any use is illegal..and since Google left academia many years ago, they no longer have "fair use" on their side.
3:49 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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iii) I guess the site and its content must at the least be considered reputable by Google for their machine-learning to choose those images...

hum...
4:56 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Leosghost The term "implied consent" was by no means a legal reference as I well know it does not exist. However, having pursued copyright infringement on numerous occasions, the amount of time you take from when you discovered the infringement to when you act can be taken into consideration. And if your defense is "well, at first I thought I could benefit from them using my image..." you are jeopardizing your legal arguments. It simply comes down to the longer you let them (anyone) get away with it, the more they will get away with it. Google should be no exception.
5:36 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So far, most courts have taken Google's side in the "copyright infringement" argument:

[law-right.com...]
5:39 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I knew that you knew .. :)..the comment was for those who did not..
Unfortunately Google has been using images that do not belong to Google, and for which they do not have permission, for years..it is now 20 years since Google began..

Usually their defenders say "fair use", which doe snot apply to them..the moment that they left their lab at the University they no longer had "educational use" which was what they were "flying on" up to then..Then their defenders used "well you can always block them" ( I do ) which again was a "crock", it is not the legal responsibility of anyone to block IP theft of their images, or their unauthorised use , it is the legal responsibility of those who use the images ( for example in images search) to only do so if they have written permission to do so..the user cannot "imply" permission.

Google should be no exception, but what they rely upon, and have always relied upon, is that their "in house lawyers " would tie up anyone who sued them ( even if they had registered their copyright..which is not legally necessary ) in the US courts for decades or until the plaintiffs grandchildren were old and grey..Only billionaires ( and governments ) can afford to sue Google over IP abuse..and Google know it..immoral, unethical, illegal ..So, you block them, and ensure that if anyone else takes and uses your images, that they are marked as yours ( in a way that cannot be easily removed ..exif data is far to easily removed ) and if Google then use those unauthorised images, then the person viewing them knows where they are from, and who's legal property they are..

But if the day comes when someone brings a class action against Google, or the EU tells them to stop..I'll join in..as in the early days , I had a few images that were not marked, and G used them as did others..I got the others taken down, and as they were no longer available via the image thieves , Google eventually purged their system of them ..

I've even given permission to some people to use some of my images for no charge..with my watermark, copyright, brand..and they have done so..

Plus when I ( or anyone else ) send images to image banks ( Getty , istock, shutterstock etc ) the rights situation is different, but they still mark images ..Sending marked images to publishers, or editors is normal, and always has been , it keeps them honest, the unmarked images are when the check has cleared..If you use an agent ( many photographers do ), it is best to send marked images for your portfolio, until you are certain that you can trust them, or / unless they pay "upfront"..Few agents will, few galleries will, few editors will, but some may "commission", even with them, it is better to be paid in full, before the negs ( digital or otherwise ) are handed over without marks..technically commissions can be x considered "work for hire" , but get paid first, fighting to get paid after the fact can be very expensive, and you might go broke from the legal fees before you win..or they might go broke, and you'll not get a penny, but still have to pay your lawyers..
5:45 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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But if the day comes when someone brings a class action against Google, or the EU tells them to stop..

It "almost" happened with Getty Images, this is why Google is no longer linking to images, and instead links to the page where the image appears (of course anyone can still right click on the image to get it "alone"). But, in way, this was an "improvement" and showing how Google navigates in a gray area...
5:48 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I do not think that the courts of France and Germany would today return the same verdicts, their legislators and judges are no longer so susceptible to Google's pressure and lobbying..Vestager was / is a breath of fresh air, hopefully she will be able to stay on after the usual 5 year term..no leverage in her search history, and it shows.. :)
5:48 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If I have a store and put things on the shelf it doesn't mean you come in and take without paying up. I have to block people from coming into my store to prevent certain people (Google) from taking for free from my shelves? Google says if you have lights on, doors open, then it's take, take, take. Turn off the lights and lock the door if you don't want them to take. What a very stupid suggestion. Take your website offline and then Google won't take your images. F you. They will just go next door and take off those store shelves because their light is still on and the doors are unlocked. It's not the store owners at fault. It's the sticky fingers that's at fault. It's that disregard/arrogance isn't it?
5:55 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It "almost" happened with Getty Images, this is why Google is no longer linking to images, and instead links to the page where the image appears (of course anyone can still right click on the image to get it "alone").

In France you right click on the thumbnail in Google image search, and you go directly to the page the image is taken from, same as if you left click on the thumbnail..It was briefly as you describe..but when the Getty Images story broke, it was applied to all Image search images, not only the Getty ones..

Google will try to get away with IP abuse anywhere that they think will allow it..
6:00 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Did someone here just say Yellow Pages is killing it even now? Oh, so the fact that every person, building, household NO LONGER HAS A YELLOW PAGES means they are a success story? Like you mean they still hold a gun to the head of businesses forcing the market to pay for the bigger ad or disappear? My accountant know the story. For anyone to suggest Yellow Pages is doing just fine? Yeah, in comparison to what? What planet do you live on. Nobody wants their junk and their hold over business is GONE. At least on the planet that I'm from. I'm sure they found a way to milk some existence, but big deal. You had everyone by the throat and any fool could maintain at least SOME profitable business from the name brand alone.
6:19 pm on Sept 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just checked my images to see how things work for me in Canada (Google.ca). When I right click on the image, in the view that displays many images it takes me to the Google page with only that image (not my website). I can then right click and save the image. There is also a "save" button that saves the image into some Google service "Collections". "Share" shares a Google link of my image, not a link to my webpage and the image displayed is not my actual image but a copy of the image in a different file format. My images are SVG's and Google's are in PNG.

It really seems like Google is happy to show my images but not to send me traffic.
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