Something’s Up With Google Image Search

Last week I wrote a post, “Is Something Up With Google Image Search” and it is starting to appear that yes something is definitely up with Google Image Search.

About two weeks ago I started noticing a large amount of incoming links on my sitemeter account coming in from Google Image Searches. The links were referencing specific search terms but when I did a search for the same terms on Google Image Search I was not coming up with any images.

Now I know that Google was criticized a while back regarding the staleness of their images and that an upgrade was promised but I’d yet to see anything official announced. Over the past two weeks the traffic being driven to my site from Google’s Image Search has continued to grow and (if you combine their various international sites) Google Image Search has now become my top referring entity to

Then I started getting actual comments from people who had found my site via Google Image Search. When I emailed one individual back he had told me that he found my site under an image search for “Manhattan.” Strange. I could not replicate these searches that were coming in. Now Manhattan is a bad example but I have a photo on my photoblog titled “lame duck” that was also getting hits and even when I image searched “lame duck” nothing would come up. In fact when I used advanced image search and restricted my search to my domain, Google was showing no images.

Something unusual has happened this morning. When searching Google images, my images are starting to show up intermittently. Examine the two screenshots below for “large” images from Google Image Search for my domain. Sometimes I get a no images page back and another time I get 135. It seems like in all they have added 290 of my images to their search engine (135 of which are large).

The other thing that I’ve found interesting is that my images seem to be ranked extremely high. If I do a search for “rain” under large images, my photo titled “San Francisco Rain” (see below) is on the first page of over 270,000 large images of “rain.” Wow, how did I get so lucky? Is it because the picture is actually pretty good as I’d like to believe? Is someone manually reviewing and ranking images at Google? Or is it because I publish using blogger or that I upload my photos to the internet using Hello Picasa (both Google properties)?

San Francisco Rain is suddenly appearing in Google’s Image Search library.

Sometimes if I do an image search under “large” images for “rain” I get 185,000 results that don’t include my photo and other times when I search for “rain” I get 270,000 images and my photo is on the first page. Now back of the napkin (and a pretty poor actual analysis) would suggest that if you applied this example to all Google images that their images indexed would jump from the current roughly 880 million to about 1.28 billion images. Certainly not scientific, but something worth discussing.

I think that the previously announced upgrade to Google Image Search may finally be filtering it’s way into the internet. If so, this is a pretty exciting development. And hey guys, glad to hear you think so highly of my photoblog!