Tag Archives: images

Flickr no longer allows easy deletion of automatic tags

UPDATE: Flickr have now restored the option to delete their automatically generated tags

Flickr no longer allows users to easily remove the automatically generated tags that it adds to photos. Flickr has been using image recognition technology for a couple of years to automatically generate tags for users’ photos but didn’t make them visible until May 2015.  As well as new photos, the computer generated tags had been added retrospectively to all previously uploaded photos. My own experience is that many  of the tags are useless and some are totally wrong. See my earlier posting Flickr pulls out all the stops with automatic tagging.

Flickr_Star_Anise_TagsUser generated tags are in a grey box and Flickr’s automatic tags are in a white or light grey box. As the tags are used by Flickr when searching for images it is important that they are correct, and it explains why Flickr search results often contain irrelevant images.

Until now, both users’ and Flickr’s tags could be deleted. Hover over a tag and a cross would appear in the upper right hand corner enabling you to delete that tag. The cross no longer appears on Flickr generated tags so they cannot be deleted that way. There is a work around which is to manually add a tag that is identical to the one you want to remove and then delete the tag you have just added. This also deletes the corresponding Flickr tag.

Several people have commented that there is an option under Settings, Privacy and Permissions  that enables you to hide auto tags. This does exactly what it says on the tin:”hides” the tags. It does not remove them so they will still be used  by Flickr’s search.


Getty Images is NOT making all of its photos freely available

Composting_Toilet_Barracks_Lane_20120422_2My Twitter feed and other social media this morning is full of posts and updates saying that Getty Images is making all of its images freely available. It is not. Read the “Embedded Viewer” section of its Terms and Conditions at http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Corporate/Terms.aspx for what you can and cannot do.

They are making a limited selection of images available for “editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest).”

Embedded Getty Images Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship“.

Getty also reserve the right “to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetise its use without any compensation to you.

Ignore these T&Cs at your financial peril!

As for the image associated with this article, it is not from Getty but one of my own. It is a decommissioned composting toilet at Barracks Lane Community Garden, Oxford. Please feel free to use as you wish.

Google Images rolls out (very slowly) Bing-like results

Google has rolled out Bing style results for its image search. If you have never used Bing Image search take a look now. Several people in my latest search workshop loved it so much that they included it in their top search tips (http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2010/07/16/top-search-tips-14th-july-2010-workshop/). Bing Images results do not do page by page results: Bing Images does continuous scroll. As you move down through the results more images are loaded, and more, and more. There is no click “next page” to distract you. And now Google has copied the style… sort of.

I have several problems with Google’s new image results layout. The first thing that struck me was that the images are all crammed in side by side to neatly fill the rows. Have the images been cropped to obtain the desired effect or have they been selected by dimensions, rather than relevance, to fill the ‘mosaic’? Bing has four images in each row regardless of their relative dimensions so there is more white space between the images, which is easier on the eye. Google’s display makes me feel as though I’m in a jam-packed standard class commuter train carriage: Bing is the more spacious, relaxed first class.

Neither Google nor Bing display by default image information, but you only need to hover over the image in which you are interested to see further details. The information is almost the same in both but Bing has an additional option to look for more sizes. The size option is great if you want to use an image but do not want to have the trouble of re-scaling it for your particular application. But not all images are available in ‘more sizes’. It depends on whether or not other web pages have reproduced the image with different dimensions. If you own a particular image with strict copyright protection and you know you have only posted a specific size on one page, this can be a useful tool in tracking down copyright violations.

When it comes to scrolling down through your results, Google seems to have lost the plot. Work your way down through the results on Bing and the display smoothly unfolds. Google’s is stop start stop…….start, stop. And it is so sloooooooow. I can almost hear the cog wheels clanking. Another distraction in Google is that batches of images are separated by the text  ‘page 2’, ‘page 3’, ‘page 4’ etc. Why? The whole point of continuous scrolling of results is that there are no pages of results.

As a comparison, here are Google’s results for an image search of Blackpool Tower:

Google Images Rfesults New Display

Here are Bing’s results:

Bing Image Results Display

Bing is so much faster, smoother and slicker.

When it comes to clicking through on an image Google almost wins. Google gives you a background of the web page and superimposed upon that is the full size image. To the right is information about the image with the warning “This image may be subject to copyright”.

Google Images Display

Bing’s does not have the same initial impact, but it does display a scrollable list of thumbnails of your search results to the left of the screen. This is very useful if the image you have selected turns out not to be exactly what you need and you want to review the alternatives.

Bing Images Display

Who wins? It has to be Bing. It is much faster, easier on the eye, has equally relevant results and  has an extra ‘more sizes’ option. And finally… it just feels right.

UK National Archives on Flickr

The UK’s National Archives have added over 200 of their photos to their Flickr photostream. They can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalarchives/. It is an interesting mix including Maps and Plans, Historical Documents, 19th and 20th century photographs, and 23 photographs taken by Felice Beato on the expedition for the relief of Khartoum in Sudan. There have already been comments about spelling mistakes and inconsistencies  in some of the photograph descriptions but National Archives have explained that they have reproduced exactly the photographers’ own notes if available. The tags added to the photos by National archives do have the modern spellings.

National Archives on Flickr

The photos have “no known copyright restrictions”:

“The National Archives is unaware of any current copyright restrictions on these images either because they are Crown Copyright and the copyright is waived or the term of copyright has expired. All of the images may be subject to other third party rights, such as rights of privacy. You are responsible for obtaining other such necessary permissions for reuse”

The images may be downloaded and reused without permission in any format for purposes of research, private study or education (non-commercial use) only. You are also asked to credit ‘The National Archives’ and include the catalogue reference of the item to allow others to access the original image or document.

Getty Images wins £2,000 over unauthorised web use of photo

If  nothing else, this is a good example of what can happen if you fail to check the rights associated with photographs and images found on the web, and then use them for your own commercial purposes. Some people refuse to accept that just because an image is on the web does not mean that you can do what you want with it. If you do not want to pay for an image, there are plenty of sources of public domain and Creative Commons images but even then there may be conditions and some restrictions on their use (see my posting Free-to-use images might not be).

In this particular case, a removals firm used a Getty photograph on their web site without paying for it. Getty found out about it because it uses tracking technology to detect the unauthorised use of pictures.

You have been warned!

Geograph British Isles – photograph every grid square

Geograph British Isles, sponsored by the Ordnance Survey, aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland.

According to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph the three founders of the project – Paul Dixon, Gary Rogers and Barry Hunter – think of it  as a “modern Domesday Book”.  It was  started in February 2005 and  has apparently  built up a large following in Canada, New Zealand and Australia among people searching for pictures of their ancestors’ home towns.

You can find photos by browsing the map or by searching on keywords. The Advanced Search has options for grid reference, post code, place name and centre of county. You can specify the distance in kilometres (up to 10) from any of the above. The only option that did not work for me was post code.   Other advanced search criteria include contributor, a drop down list for category e.g. weir, date submitted and date taken. All submitters are required to assign a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence to  their photographs and to allow the right to use the work commercially, so this site is ideal if you are looking for photos that you can use in a presentation.

Geograph search results for Caversham weir:

Geograph search results for Caversham weir

If you wish to submit a photo you first have to register.  Once you have logged in, you have to  give the grid reference for your photograph.  Somehow I missed the easy route the first time I tried this and spent ages trying to work out the exact OS reference. The easier and better way to do this is to use the Map Placename Application. This uses Google Maps and you simply home in on your location. The  grid reference is automatically generated and you move on to step 2, which is where you specify the image file you wish to upload. On the same screen you need to supply  the grid reference of the “primary photo subject”, but if you have used the map to find the location this should be filled in automatically. For the photographer position you just drag and drop the relevant circle onto the map.

The next step is to add a title, description, primary geographical category e.g. floods, AA phone box, bus stop.  The date taken is automatically extracted from the EXIF (Exchangeable image file format) information but this can be changed manually – useful  if you never got around to setting up the correct date and time on your camera! Finally, you have to confirm that you agree to the  Creative Commons rights assigned to your photo.

There is a lot on this site and it may not always be obvious to users how to  search, and for those who wish to submit photos it does require time and effort to upload images.  From the searchers’ point of view it is  worth it: the highly structured  records ensure that precision and relevance is high. Family snaps are rejected!  The FAQ clearly states that while people can be in the photo, they must not be the photo.  If you are  looking for photographs of locations in Great Britain and Ireland this is an excellent place to start, but be warned  – it is addictive.

TASI Tutorial: Internet for Image Searching   

TASI (Technical Advisory Service for Images) has launched a tutorial on Internet for Image Searching. This is a  free-to-use online tutorial that, according to the announcement, is “to assist staff and students within the education sphere in locating images for use in both teaching and learning”. I would recommend, though, that anyone who searches for images on the Internet either for personal or business use should work their way through this tutorial.

The tutorial starts off by demonstrating that just because you have found a photo or graphic via Google Images does not mean that it is free for you to use as you want, and it is not always easy to find copyright and ownership information.  Similarly it points out that although a Flickr photo may be given a Creative Commons licence It is not uncommon for people to upload images that are not their own and make them available under Creative Commons licences. And there is more than one form of Creative Commons: if you don’t know what they are follow this tutorial or go to http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons

As well as taking you through the legal issues, copyright and licensing models the tutorial list sites that offer free photos, Creative Commons images, royalty free and commercial stock photos. Note that some of the free photo sites are for personal non-commercial use only and that fees apply if you wish to use them for business purposes.

The emphasis of the tutorial is on “finding copyright cleared images which are available free; facilitating quick, hassle-free access to a vast range of online photographs and other visual resources”.

An added bonus is that as you progress through the tutorial you can add sites to a free ‘link basket’, which can be saved, printed out or sent to you by email.