Thursday, July 22, 2010

Google Image Search and a Wake Up Call For Photographers

A unused jetway or gangway stands deserted on the airport tarmac representing missed opportunities, missed connections and being left behind as well as a host of other business concepts (photographed in Yangon airport in Myanmar).
Will you be left behind if Google Image search, or other Internet image search engines actually become proficient at helping people and businesses find the photos they need?

Google Image Search and The Future
The new Google Image search gives us a glimpse of what might be. The new format allows for incredibly fast viewing of images and the relevancy appears to be improved as well. As Google zeroes in on relevancy I believe Google Image search will become a much more important tool for anyone looking for stock photography.

Funny Bloodhound Picture Searches
I just used the new Image search for the term "funny bloodhound pictures". One of my images, three dogs looking perplexed (one of which is a bloodhound), came up about ten times earlier than it used to. And it is WAY faster to peruse through the images.

What Does Google Image Search Improvements Mean For Photographers?
As Google Image search brings up better and better imagery more and more quickly, then those who have done the work to get their images online will benefit…particularly those photographers who have the best and most relevant images for the people searching.

A Wake Up Call

The new Google Image search is a wake-up call to photographers and image creators. Look down the road five years from now and I believe image search might just offer an opportunity to tap in to the vast market of consumers and low-end stock photo users as well as the occasional higher-end art buyer who is looking beyond the traditional agency sources. Add in technology such as PicScout's
and others that provide image tracking and licensing and the whole stock world might be turned upside down. By then perhaps most stock photo searches will be on Google…who knows! I wouldn't bet against Google figuring it all out and eventually capturing the lion's share of stock photo searches....

Check Out Google Image Search

If you haven’t done so yet, check out the new Google Image Search. It has a long way to go, but you can see the potential. The question is, as photographers can we afford to gamble that Google Image search, or perhaps some other internet search engine, won’t become the de facto method for stock photo searches?


Rahul said...

Nice post John and Google will play a big role in the future.

By the way, nice image. I would suggest making the whole image a link to Getty. Give people a bigger click target :)

John Lund said...


The whole image is a link to my website (the page where the image is). Isn't that better?


Roddy Hamish said...

You realize that that makes it even easier for people to steal images as the larger preview images can be "save as.." ?
To beleive that Google is a friend of photography is a huge mistake and a trap.
They do not index Metadata and ignore all image database. How can they possibly showing you the best images ?
Look at what comes up first when you do a Google image search for “Michelle Obama”. Is that really the best image of her ?

John Lund said...


Your points are totally valid.

Hopefully technology will help with the theft issue...and I am now always putting my copyright notice large across the picture.

I do believe that in the long term a way will be developed to add relevancy to image seach.

My point really is that Image search will become more popular and like it or not, an ever increasing way for people to find stock photography. I think it is important for us photographers to be aware of that and to find and implement strategies for dealing with it.