Does Hello Picasa Effect Google Image Search Placement

I’ve still yet to figure out Google’s Image Search Technology. For whatever reason seemingly random images from my photoblog end up indexed very high in Google’s Image Search. It changes each time Google reindexes their image search and the photos selected for high ranking do not appear to be my most popular. Search for “tulips” for instance on Google Image Search and my photo is currently on the first page, number six actually, of 204,000 images of tulips. The actual image being shown in Google Image Search is not the image from my blog but the image as uploaded to Hello Picasa (a Google property) but linked to my blog.

Other images of mine though do not rank near as high. For instance, another image in my March 2005 photoblog also uploaded with Hello Picasa contains the world trolly. However, this photo does not appear in the first five pages for the image search term “trolly” and there are only 9,500 total trolly images on Google. Much less than the 204,000 images of tulips. Further, do a Google Image Search for trolly and “thomas hawk” and you get zero results. I don’t get this.

As I’ve recently begun using Flickr to post my photos rather than Hello Picasa, I suspect over time I will lose a considerable amount of my Google traffic that I currently enjoy today. Of course I also publish with blogger which could also have something to do with it as well and have a decent Google Page Rank in general for my blog — but these facts and even the fact that I used Hello Picasa in the past do not address the seemingly random nature of the photos that Google chooses to rank high.

Also, what about Yahoo! Image Search? Yahoo! acquired Flickr of course and the Flickr algorithm for interestingness seems to be so vastly superior to the Yahoo! algorithm for Image Search. Although I suspect that this is coming down the road, quite frankly I’m really surprised it has not been integrated yet. This seems like a no brainer to me. Do an image search for “San Francisco” on Yahoo! and you get this. Do an image search for sanfrancisco and rank by interestingness on Flickr and you get this. Now granted I’m probably biased since Flickr would seem to rate many of my own San Francisco shots quite highly, but to me the vast superiority of Flickr images over the Yahoo! images is somewhat glaring. What would it take to begin to push these highly ranked Flickr images into the Yahoo! Image Search stream? And why haven’t we seen this yet?

Equally unusual to me is the fact that if I do an image search on Yahoo! for “san francisco” and “thomas hawk” together I get plenty of photos from my blog but not a single one of my Flickr photos. If I were Yahoo! I’d think I’d want to include some of the amazing photography being done at Flickr in my Image Search algorithm. Also it’s interesting to me that many of the images that come up under the Yahoo! image search for “thomas hawk” “san francisco” are many of the same images that Google formerly ranked so high for me but lost their ranking in subsequent reindexing there.

Anyone have any thoughts on Google or Yahoo! Image Search technology?

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