Debunking a misconception, plus a reminder of how search engines work

One interesting thing about my job is that I get to see a lot of unusual claims. Recently I was on an email thread and the images team wanted to address a misconception. Google Images doesn’t have a dedicated blog right now, so I offered some space on my blog if someone wanted to do a guest post. Here’s the guest post:


Every now and then a story surfaces that Google has ‘censored’ images or web pages and removed them from our site without saying a word to anyone. For example, we noticed some sites in the Middle East and beyond are asking about Egyptian striker Mohammad Aboutrika’s goal celebration during Egypt’s African Cup of Nations match against Sudan. After scoring the 3rd goal, Aboutrika revealed a t-shirt with the message ‘Sympathize with Gaza’.

Well it turns out this image was difficult to find on images.google.com for the first few days after the match, and the story that’s gathered steam is that Google removed it. Some outlets said that this was under pressure from the Israeli government.

First of all let’s put the story straight: we definitely didn’t do this. In fact from the very beginning you could find the image quite easily on YouTube and also on Google News.

The reason for the delay in the image showing up on Google Images was that it can take a few days between when an image appears and when its crawled by the Googlebot, as explained here. It’s there now – you can find several copies of the image on a search for [Aboutrika] or [Aboutrika Gaza] quite easily.

No-one from any government has contacted us about this image, and we have no reason to remove it.

The Google EMEA Product Team


(This is Matt again. By the way, “EMEA” stands for “Europe, Middle East, and Africa.”) I can add a little more perspective on this as well. Google works hard to be comprehensive, which is great, and in my opinion Google has good coverage of the web in our index (including images). But we don’t crawl every single image or document across the entire web, and sometimes it takes time to discover a document. That’s just the way search engines work, and there’s no need to assume an ulterior motive on Google’s part.

Just to give another example, a few months ago I saw similar questions regarding image search results in Japanese. On October 14th, a Sunday morning TV show introduced a new virtual girl singer named Miku Hatsune. For a few days, Google didn’t have pictures of the character, but it wasn’t anything intentional on Google’s part; sometimes it does take a little while for our web or image crawl to discover a document. Happily, if you search for [Hatsune Miku] now you’ll find lots and lots of pictures.

So my takeaway is even though search engines can be very comprehensive, it can still take time to discover documents; please don’t assume that Google has negative intentions just because you don’t see a particular image. When I joined Google in early 2000, we measured the time to update our index in months. Personally, I think it’s great that people now start to wonder why we don’t have a particular web page or image within just a few days. Over time, Google is getting fresher and fresher in my experience, but making a search engine work really well is a difficult task. Rest assured that we’ll keep working on improving freshness, coverage of the web, relevance, and the overall user experience.

Update, 2/10/2008: Also, congratulations to Mohamed Aboutrika for scoring the game-winning goal in the finals of the African Nations Cup.

58 Responses to Debunking a misconception, plus a reminder of how search engines work (Leave a comment)

  1. By the way, if you are interested in the Miku Hatsune situation, it looks like the character was introduced to the world on Oct. 14th, 2007. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocaloid , “On October 18, 2007, an Internet BBS website reported Hatsune Miku was suspected to be victim of censorship by Google and Yahoo!, since images of Miku did not show up on the image searches.”

    Personally, I love that our users expect so much of Google! If an image can go live by Oct. 14th and people are saying that Google is censoring results because we don’t return the image by Oct. 18th, that really means that our users expect a lot of us. I want users to expect a lot from Google.

  2. When Google does censor images, they will put a footer note in italics below the page, along the lines of “According to local laws and policies, some results are missing” (I’m paraphrasing). For instance, this happens when you search Google China for [tiananmen]. In many countries, but not China, this will be accompanied by a link to ChillingEffects.org to show more on why something is missing… like in a search for [site:stormfront.org] in Google Germany. (In some countries, this notice was not always displayed before March 2005, though.) Often it seems domains are censored, not specific images on the domain, though it may well be that sometimes a domain is censored just because of a single page or image on it. It was also the case that keywords were censored in Google Image Search China (for Chinese politicians) but this behavior is now removed, revering back to the URL-censoring. How exactly Google self-censors based on local policies they don’t disclose, though.

  3. I see fresh Google getting fresher and fresher too

  4. > there’s no need to assume an ulterior motive on Google’s part

    Well, there may be no *basis*, but there’s clearly a *need* for someone. ;)

  5. Matt,
    Do you think this misconception is from the public conception that Google does not follow their own “Do No Evil” mantra (i.e. Censoring in China)?

  6. I have heard of a few claims on Google censoring images, but this is the first I have heard about this specific incident. A few days is really not long enough for that sort of decision to bash Google on ;)

  7. Brent, as Philipp notes in his comment, Google provides a disclosure notice when a local law requires that we remove a result from our search results. By providing that notice, Google gives more context to users than any other major search engine, as far as I know. The two incidents I mentioned in my post were allegations that Google had a particular agenda and was removing or blocking images silently. Those claims weren’t accurate, and I wanted to point that out.

  8. Interesting to see busy people take time to combat the conspiracy theory mania, i meet many people who are obsessed with it, every time you can’t explain something it is easy to come up with a conspiracy that explains everything, i can tell you about the Global Warming conspiracy if you like, its the Israeli government’s religious belief that “The warmer the better” .

  9. P.S. For anyone really curious about Aboutrika’s shirt, here’s an example article and a link via Google translate:
    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/02/03/45080.html
    http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.alarabiya.net%2Farticles%2F2008%2F02%2F03%2F45080.html&langpair=ar%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

    That’s the sort of misconception that I wanted to correct.

  10. Here’s a little (sort of) story about my personal experience with the power of images in China.

    So after a series of random event I was finishing up teaching a conversational english class in rural central China. I had forbid a few topics from our classroom (sex, politics, & religion), which was odd for a teacher at this school largely staffed by evangelical missionaries.

    My students had questions about politics and it was the last day of class so I opened up the discussion.

    What my students wanted to talk about was the US spy plane that crashed on Chinese island as a result of colliding with a Chinese fighter jet.

    It quickly became apparent they thought that the US spy plane had chased down the Chinese fighter and rammed it.

    To anyone who had seen a picture of the American plane this just silly:
    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS216US216&q=EP-3&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

    It’s a medium sized prop plane, no match for any reasonably modern fighter jet when it comes to speed & agility.

    I had them draw out the planes, and had a vocab lesson on descriptive adjectives. Eventually they started to see what was going on without me saying telling them. Some laughed, some were stunned, it was a good way to end the semester.

    If my students had access to just one picture of the two planes they would have figured it out.

    If this incident had escalated Google images just might have been a tool that would have cut through the propaganda to promote peace.

    So yea, I think indexing as fast as possible is kind of a big deal.

  11. Dave (original)

    Matt, you don’t seriously believe that the tin foil hat brigade let FACTS stand in the way of their conspiracy theories? Even responding to their conspiracy theories with facts, adds fuel to their mind fire.

    NASA cannot sqaush the fake Moon landing conspiracy theories and Google will ALWAYS be favorite with tin foil hat brigade. Don’t waste your time :)

  12. Google doesn’t censor photos huh then how do you answer this my former black ops friend

    http://images.google.com/images?q=ufo+googleplex

    oh sure you’ve got everyone else fooled they are too busy worried about Google passing information to the MIB’s but I know the truth. The whole privacy issue is just a clever ruse a red herring designed to throw people off the real truth, that google is actually a top secret immigration point for extra terrestrials.

    It’s a clear as day that Roswell and Google both have the letter “o” in the second position, which is the Maragosian symbol for passage or entry way. And what’s with all the free candy, everyone knows that the reeces pieces in ET was an inside joke for cryptozoologists, who have proven aliens have a well documents sweet tooth.

    Deny all you want my xenophiliac comrade but I’m onto you and the truth is out there …

  13. graywolf, I have a package that’s being delivered for you, so I’d like you stay exactly where you are. Let’s see. The best address for you looks like 40.683N, -73.51W, correct? ;)

  14. heh actually I’m a bit south and a tad west but not bad. So did you remember or did ya have to go look it up ;-)

  15. spiderman05

    I noticed that it takes just a few hours for a blog entry to get indexed by Google. I think that the shortest delay I have noticed (well, the delay between posting an article and getting traffic to that article) is about 4 hours.

  16. Dave (original)

    Not ALL blogs and not ALL pages. It likely comes down to true PR, links and long term trends.

    For example, posts on my forum use to take anywhere up to 2 weeks to appear in Google SERPS, now they only take between 10 mins and 2 days.

    Matt’s blog has a min of PR 7 and that alone attracts googlebot frequently.

  17. Harith

    Matt,

    Most people of Arabic countries in The Middle East read English, they prefer to communicate in ARABIC. The current issue has been of concerns to them. Not many of them know who is Matt Cutts and never ever visit your blog.
    However, If you want to talk to those people, you should have at least also posted a translation of your current post in Arabic.

    And it seems The Google EMEA Product Team has behaved in this issue very unprofessional. If they wish to talk to the arabic population, they should have posted their message on several of the Arabic news sites, blogs and forums where this issue has been discussed. For examples here and here.

  18. Matt,

    I always wonder why and from where these conspiracy theories originate from. This is a trick used to seek attention of eyeballs (by some people or media) – these people “deliberately” write something negative about the top companies – just to get some buzz going around. The main target audience are the people who “hate” biggies. It was Microsoft yesterday, and today it is Google.

    Why can’t people “just” trust what biggies like Google / MicroSoft say? For me, personally, trusting just what you say keeps me to goto bed in peace – without any negative feelings like G is trying to fool me;)

    -Sudha.

  19. spiderman05, I have noticed a similar thing with my Blogger based blog. That it only takes a couple hours for my content to show up in the index most of the time. I would suspect that the images use a slightly different crawling mechanism — I am sure it will be a matter of time until we start measuring minutes how long some of these things take. Amazing.

  20. Why can’t people “just” trust what biggies like Google / MicroSoft say? For me, personally, trusting just what you say keeps me to goto bed in peace – without any negative feelings like G is trying to fool me;)

    Because in the words of the immortal Dr. House, “everybody lies”. Everyone has an angle in what they say or a reason to say it that suits their own interests. It’s less about the message and more about the political take on the message.

    Matt’s angle is that he works for Google, but Matt, unlike most people, does a terrific job of minimizing any professional biases and looking at a situation objectively. Yes, there are times when he defends Google, and that’s understandable…they pay him, and he wants to keep his income source. But he’s also mentioned other competing search engines (e.g. Yahoo!) in the past and even plugged one (Wikia).

    The only people you can really trust in the world are the ones who understand their own biases and work to minimize them.

  21. graywolf, I had to look it up. But there’s a great little search engine for stuff like that. [cityname statename longitude latitude] normally works. :)

    spiderman05, it’s true that we can be very fresh, but we can’t find/crawl/index/serve every page that fast, or else we’d be updating our entire index every four hours. That would be pretty hard to do.

    Harith, we figured some answer was better than no answer at all, but I’ll pass on the suggestion.

    Sudha, I’d like if people would at least go by Occam’s Razor. If an image doesn’t appear, is it more likely to be a typical resource/system/machine issue, or a deliberate choice? With the billions of documents that Google crawls, it’s much more likely in my experience to have a reasonable explanation.

    By the way, keniki: I’ve blocked you from commenting, so it’s kind of a waste of your time. Also, Dave (original) is not who you think he is. My advice would be to take any grudges to a different site.

  22. oh and BTW I noticed you updated the satellite image of my house last night (I’m a conspiracy theorist I had to check), I could tell by the color of the car in the driveway.

    What’s also interesting is you guys always use pictures from the colder seasons. Original picture of the docks near the house only had one boat (the police boat there all year). Now there are a few boats so it’s either early spring or late fall.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=wantagh+ny+&ie=UTF8&ll=40.645879,-73.513845&spn=0.003859,0.00971&t=h&z=17&om=0

  23. Harith

    Matt,

    “Harith, we figured some answer was better than no answer at all, but I’ll pass on the suggestion.”

    Thanks.

    This issue underline the importance of explaining in nontechnical manner in local languages to Google users worldwide, how Google search engine function..from crawling to indexing.

    That particular incident got me to think; here we have a field where SEOs and Google can work together in “educating” the public worldwide about search.

    Oh well. Just a thought ;)

  24. graywolf, my first guess would be coincidence. If you forced me to make a second guess about why the satellite photos are more likely in the winter in your area, I’d guess that you can see more in the photos because the trees don’t obscure as much. I’m just throwing out ideas though.

  25. ade

    we jumped into google maps at the beginning of 07 because it seemed such an obvious thing to do with what we were doing ( a resource site about ibiza) and not being an seo person it was only last week someone said that none of our content was being indexed because google couldnt find it – all the display and content comes through the api dynamically

    i ended up having to use php and site maps to “recreate” the site just so google could index the content – with the result that the content is out of context – through no fault of our own

    for example our site was “flagged for content check” in LBC until i did the above and within 4 hours our LBC was “active”

    i asked this in the api group and in the LBC group: are we being penalised for being early adopters and does google have any ideas how they can index sites like ours without us having to create the content out of context?

  26. trem

    Matt,

    I’m Japanese web director.
    I’m very happy that Matt refers Japanese topic.

    “Miku Hatsune” problem is the talk of the town in Japan.
    Because “Miku Hatsune” became popular since 2007 SEP first.
    Google and Yahoo! can’t index ,not several days,over a month!

    That character have not only voices,but also attractive images.
    so “Miku Hatsune” image flows in Japanese network in early september.

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=%E5%88%9D%E9%9F%B3%E3%83%9F%E3%82%AF&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2007-9&sort=0

    I am asked by many people “why Google and Yahoo! don’t show Miku Hatsune?” but, I couldn’t answer.

    I don’t think Google censore “Miku Hatsune”.It is only joke!

    But I can’t come up with a reason of Google can’t index very poplar Character’s images over a month.

    What do you think matt?

  27. Governments like control, and any outlet of dissemination of information tends to be where it focuses the most attention to. If you look carefully, in many countries, the traditional media outlets (newspapers, televisions, etc.) are mostly government linked corporations. The cosy ties allow propaganda to make its rounds easily.

    To these pre-conceptions of the media, the Internet is the opposite of control. You can’t spread false information without being called out on your lie; neither can you try to block certain information from entering or leaving the country. That is why, governments are wont to pester key Internet companies, hoping to bend them in their favour.

    Because of that, it would be nice if companies on the Internet could issue a firm commitment towards neutrality on the Internet.

  28. Thierry

    Not an image or a search; but I was wondering if there was a political reason google maps doesn’t include roads in Israel and the PA? All countries around them have major roads included (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt…) but not Israel and the PA.

  29. Matt & Graywolf, think about basic science.

    Satellite photos taken in the cold are better, the same reason astronomy in the cold is better. Hot air moves faster and causes optical disturbances in the atmosphere which makes the stars appear to twinkle in the summer opposed to the calm cold air of winter where they look like the bright dots they are.

    Trust me on this as I’ve frozen my ass off at a couple of amateur observatories in the middle of the winter helping the crew take stunning images of Jupiter.

    The fun part was one night we were sitting in the car warming our hands up under the heater and suddenly could see our shadows on the floor as a meteor came down while we were there. It flew right across the field of vision for the area we were photographing too, but they were changing the film in the camera at that split second and missed it…

    What are the odds? grrrrr

  30. Dave (original)

    Bill, do the same air turbulence principles apply when in Space looking in as on the Earth looking out? I.e Telescopes are often on high land so there is less air turbulence.

    Satellites are kept in space by traveling around the Earth at the same speed as they are falling toward it. Winter in any one place on Earth would result in more frequent cloud cover & light diffusion and hence less clarity in most circumstances.

  31. When you’re looking thru the earth’s atmosphere it doesn’t matter what your point of origin when there’s turbulence, cloud covering, airborne dust particles and pollution, etc. as it all causes issues with making nice clear sharp images whether you’re on the ground pointing up or in the sky pointing down.

    FWIW, that’s one of the reasons the Hubble was such a big deal because it has ZERO atmospheric disturbance of any type.

  32. Hmm ok this is not to say that Google IS actually censoring images (I personally have no direct proof of it) – but if you have the capacities for indexing every blog post like 15 minutes after it’s published wouldn’t it seem just weird that those images which were no doubt linked to from many blogs have not been indexed equally fast?

  33. Matt, shouldn’t the images database just get updated faster? Back in 2004, you went through this same thing because of a stale database:

    http://battellemedia.com/archives/001014.php

    Three or four years later, you’re having to debunk because of a stale image database again. OK, I’ll grant you that a few days delay is far better than the twice a year situation you were in during 2004. And I gather Yahoo was behind, as well:

    http://philistine.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/google-and-yahoo-remove-sympathize-with-gaza/

    Still, you’d think if Google was updating the BBC’s news content within minutes, and putting images into Google News, then Google Images should be getting them as well.

  34. Freshness and Expectations! I was doing some basic SEO work for a friends site and, like often happens, after every change they searched on the keywords. Over the course of the next few hours Google indexed and improved our rankings nearly immediately. I was dumbfounded but now fear that my clients will expect similar responses. Is there a safe estimate about indexing for small to medium sites here in the US?
    Its not a big fear though cause 95% of my work is in usability and persuasion. Just wondering! Thanks.

  35. I find it kind of hard to believe that people would think that Google is into cencorship. I guess there are some stange ones out there.

  36. IrishWonder, historically our image crawl has been run separately from our web crawl. And topical/fresh info matters a lot more for web documents, so in the “decide where to put resources” decisions, the images team has focused on other goals more than up-to-the-minute freshness of images. (Which has been the right call pretty often, in my opinion.)

  37. Gsimerlink

    Being an EX GIS (Geographic Information Services) person I can tell you that most satellite and flown images are taken during the cold months to reduce the amount of foilage on trees that might obscure features on the ground. It’s a lot harder to digitize manholes and valve covers if an elm tree is in full bloom.

    One question though on Google maps is why you only use color DOQQs when some have a resolution of 1:2000 when there are black & whites available down to 1:100

  38. I think the freshness within days is great. I found something today that I thought was interesting that I assume would impact how quickly the spider is crawling a site.

    I was looking at a site today that has a comprehensive sitemap with 470,000 pages but with the site: tool shows 10,600,000 pages.

    What would cause such a huge difference in what the site actually has versus what Google is returning? I would guess this would impact how fresh the content is as google isnt going to crawl what it thinks are 10 million pages very quickly for fresh content.

    BTW, did you go to Disneyland for the Google Day last week?

  39. (This is Matt again. By the way, “EMEA” stands for “Europe, Middle East, and Africa.”)

    One product team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa? What can possibly be the reason that you’d combine those 3 regions into one? (other than the obvious geographical reason)

    Maybe EMEA just sounds nice… :)

  40. Great post Matt – Do you think that some of these unusual claims may be caused indirectly by Google?

    Let me say first that you are very open with information on your blog and I have seen times where you have interacted with a specific site owner to help them.

    What I mean is that typically it is pretty hard to get any interaction with someone at Google for a specific question related to a specific topic or site. This lack of interaction with those using Google or trying to work within Google guidelines make if pretty difficult and at times can seem like google does what they choose and answers to no one.

    That perception may assist in causing the unusual or conspiratorial type claims which you mention.

    I understand that the internet is a huge place with many sites and Google is only a few in comparisons, but if there were a means to pose questions to Google and get constructive feedback in responses perhaps that would help with some of these mis-perceptions.

    For example you probably get requests all the time that relate to site rankings. Why they went up, down or are no longer indexed. It seems that if there were a way to actually ask google these questions and get a constructive answer in return it would be a more open and trusting relationship between web searchers, site owners and Google.

    It would be a lot simpler to fix a problem with a site if the owner were actually told what the problem was. It might be easier to know why a photo was not yet indexed if Google actually addressed those questions like you did here. Most issues probably have very simple answers like the photo but without answers people are left to form their own often in-accurate conclusions.

    Maybe I am off base here and there is a way that I just don’t know about. I have tried it a couple times via contact forms or even the web master tools page and never really seem to get responses.

  41. Great pots Matt, there are just way too many people out there with Theories…. now if only you guys would fix these spammy SERP that would be something worth writing about :) Seems to be way too much emphasis with the link domain lots of Wiki type sites are outranking quality SEO’d content + link building ;)

  42. Dave (original)

    Being an EX GIS (Geographic Information Services) person I can tell you that most satellite and flown images are taken during the cold months to reduce the amount of foilage on trees that might obscure features on the ground. It’s a lot harder to digitize manholes and valve covers if an elm tree is in full bloom.

    Arrh, someone who knows :) So late Autumn/ early Spring are best?

  43. Gsimerlink, I thought it might be trees. But then what do you do with all the satellite data from the summer? :) I’m guessing that we prefer color images just because users prefer color over black & white, but I don’t really know.

  44. Frank

    Matt, it is hard for me to sort out the truth regarding Google and Abutrika story. One thing I do believe is that Google does bend under the pro-Israel forces. To wit: In aninterview recently with Walt and Mearscheimer ( the outhors of “the Israel Lobby), they stated that Google first scheduled for them to appear at Google headquarters to speak about their book but later the event was cancelled. One of the Google people involved in the cancellation stated that this is the first time that such an event gets cancelled from the most higer up people at Google. Maybe Google can do something to demostrate its sympathy for the oppressed people in Gaza and reverse its garnished image.

  45. Harith

    Matt,

    Shouldn’t we do soemthing about those multiple mini comments of keniki :(

  46. It’s testament to the importance of Google that such a fuss has been kicked up about about a delay of just 2 days in showing these image results.

    People have so much faith in the search results that they instantly assume something is amiss when results don’t show immediately.

    Still, it’s gotta be flattering that searchers have such high expectations, as even 5 years ago search was very hit and miss.

  47. There is really need of censorship of images, also if google robot will give value to the authentic image it would be big plus!

  48. Andrew C

    Matt is exactly right. Everyone knows Google only provides censorship for the Chinese government.

  49. Here’s the thing, I did the searching myself before I found your blog post, but I couldn’t find it either. That was because I spelled the name the same as many of the posts claiming google removed the picture. (“abu trika” gaza), and (abutrika gaza). Neither return any results with the picture on google images (even now). Wheras the (ou) spelling returns results with the picture on both google news and google images. The (ou) spelling also returns more results in google web search. It seems it is the more popular spelling in English. period.

    Here are the specifics:
    aboutrika gaza – 25,100 results
    “abu trika” gaza – 3400 results
    “abou trika” gaza – 787 results
    abutrika gaza – 34 results

    Others advised that the image can be found under yahoo search and MS Live under the (abu) spelling, but those differences are simply the differences between their crawler and yours. Even then some so called “news” websites included yahoo in the announcement. So it seems it was a case of gossip gone smeer campaign by overzelous fans.

  50. Although maybe only obliquely related, recently I was replying to someone else’s reply in a Google Webmaster Help Groups thread and happened to do a search on a phrase that was used in the person’s reply.

    I couldn’t believe it but Google had indexed that very reply already and showed up near the top for the phrase I was searching on.

    I know you have written on the speed at which some pages get indexed but it never really sunk in until this happened to me.

    Unfortunately there are still sites, like some of mine, whose updates don’t get indexed so fast. But then again, considering the rate at which the content updates, I’m not surprised either. ;-)

    All that said, no matter what you or anyone does or says, people will always look for and find, at least in their own minds, ulterior motives that more often than not speak more about the one assuming the motives than the one the assumptions are being made about. :-(

    Google just happens to be a lot of people’s “whipping boy”.

  51. Thats for the info matt on the image spidering. I had a question acutally regarding images, how on earth does Google tell pornographic and indecent images apart from images that are fine?

    Is it based on the web-site that they are found on, or does Google actually read the image, to assess what it is of?

  52. > there’s no need to assume an ulterior motive on Google’s part

    There is reason to think so, however. For example, if you were in China, searches for our company have often returned no results, and quite on purpose (we were on the first short list of sites to ban sent to Google and Yahoo, Microsoft had ignored it. Who would have thought?).

    So since Google does censor based on request of governments in some cases, there will *always* be the assumption that it does in other cases (even when it does not).

  53. http://www.news.com/No-booze-or-jokes-for-Googlers-in-China/2100-1030_3-6031727.html?tag=item

    Just for reference.. to the above post. Of course, I know the argument that it irrevelant since China blocks about a million sites we host, so seeing them in the results doesn’t do the Chinese any good if they can’t go to them… however how else would they even know they are being blocked?

  54. There is one thing I keep asking around and no one seems to have a clue: when Search Engines are going to accept inputs other than text for search? My wife and I do lots of image research and we would just love to sketch something on the tablet and see what images match our drawing, for instance.

    This image-word matching does not work fine and makes it immenselly difficult to control misuse of copyright for our images.

    P.S.: Since “Google Images doesn’t have a dedicated blog right now” I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your space to send them this message, Matt!

    P.P.S.: I mentioned images, but I would also like to whisper a melody and find music, video and text document matches… You got the idea.

  55. We agree with the other postings. Oftentimes it is difficult to explain to the average internet user that it takes time to get indexed and a day or two is simply unreasonable to expect a topic or photo to appear on Google when it had no internet presence previously. Surprising that people would make such a bold statement against Google within just a few days of it not showing up. However, with so many governments banning so many topics online, we suppose it isn’t unreasonable to make those assumptions. Informative post – enjoyed reading the specific examples.

  56. Matt, it is human nature to always raise the bar on what we are currently getting. I remember when we had to wait 30 minutes to heat up something in the stove. Then came the microwave that could do it in 1 minute. Now some days I stand in front of the microwave and go “1 minute, isn’t there anything faster out there.” You can trade out the oven for dial-up and the microwave for broadband.

    User expectations, give them what they want, they are happy for a while and then they come back and ask if it can be faster.

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