Google's Mobile Image Search Encouraging Theft?

Feb 24, 2011 • 9:20 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Photographer Tristan Savatier, aka loupiote, posted a thread at the Google Webmaster Help thread saying Google's new mobile image search makes it way to easy for people to steal your images. He said it is confusing for normal people to not end up stealing your images.

Try it out and you will see.

(1) Go to Google Mobile Image Search on your mobile device or via your desktop at

(2) Search for flowers or anything else

(3) Click on an image result

(4) Notice that the only way to get to the page hosting the image is to tap and scroll to the bottom of the image and click on that small link.

The link at the top, in larger font, takes you directly to the image file on that individuals server. What do you do from there? Well, leave or save the image to your phone and use it, likely without credit.

Here is an image of the screen:

Google Image Search Mobile

As you can see, that link is small and hard to reach.

Tristan suggests Google should either show the copyright details on this page and/or send the searcher to the referring page, which often has the copyright details there. But taking them to the image file doesn't contain those details and may lead to confuse people.

What do you think?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Russell Bohannon

02/24/2011 05:18 pm

Google should move the URL to the top of the page, so users see that before the image.


02/24/2011 05:36 pm

It's important to distinguish between 'theft' and copyright infringement.


02/24/2011 10:07 pm

How is this encouraging people to steal your images? "Normal people" don't care where the image they are looking for is from. You don't want someone to use your images without your permission?Don't post in on the internet.

Daniel Chavez Moran

02/25/2011 08:40 pm

Copyright infringement is theft, just of intellectual rather than physical property.

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