Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) now has more than 10 billion images in its “image” section and consumers access the service at the rate of one billion pageviews day.
Google Images was launched in 2001 with 250 million images, so the service has grown at a remarkable pace.
Today, Google will launch an improved version of images. It will include new larger thumbnail images, a “hover” option that will allow users to see what a picture would look like in a larger size, and instant scrolling between pages.
All of the features are likely to improve the usefulness of the product, but none of them will make Google a dime. Google’s recent earnings were a disappointment, not just because it is increasing its expenses rapidly, but because it has no revenue source beyond search ads.Google Images does not carry any ads related to the content on the page. It does not get a license fee for the use of the images themselves. As a matter of fact, the service could be said to aid piracy, much as the company’s YouTube once did. Consumers can find images that may be the intellectual property of photographers or the agencies that represent them. There is no way for those people and firms to protect the images or to collect licensing fees.
Google Images adds itself, once again, with its improved functions, to a long line of products which serve the public well, but do not make the company a dime
Douglas A. McIntyre