Hijacking Google Image Search Results
Google Blogoscoped discusses an issue with Google Images where Google will not always show the original source of the image in their results. In short, Google may display an image that is hotlinked via a third-party site, in a higher position within Google Images than the original image.
One of the earliest reports on this issue was by Ken Evoy, who talked about it here in May.
Danny looked at it, and he emailed back and forth with Ken, who summarized it this way:
Your daughter had a picture on her web site. Someone took that and put it on their web site. Then occasionally, Google would rank that picture higher than her “original” picture. In addition, some of these sites might have originally pulled the picture right off her server, but Google was ranking the image as it it was located at someone else’s server.
That last part is the most interesting thing, but to be honest, I really had to dig into what you wrote to understand it. Yeah, if an image on a page is coming off another page, it might make more sense to link to the original page itself. But that can also be hard — for example, I might have my Flickr pictures on one of my pages, but the domains don’t match. Or I could have all my images on a separate image server where there is no page to point people at.
Danny also passed the conversation along to several people at Google. But since then, we’ve seen the issue grow more.