As we all know, the Big Three stock agencies are in a period of turmoil, with the emergence of microstock, photo-sharing, crowdsourcing and other changes seriously cutting into their profit margins — as well as the earnings of professional stock photographers.
In this environment, I guess it’s only natural to expect the disruptive innovations to become more and more dramatic. Which, I suppose, is why a number of people have told me recently that they think Google will ultimately gobble up the entire stock business.
Frankly, I doubt it.
True, Google Images reaches the largest number of prospective buyers in the world. Google indexes copyrighted images and allows users to search the Web for image content. Google Images currently indexes more than 1.1 billion images.
Keywords are based on the following:
Because of its ease of use, the everyday user often gravitates to Google Images to grab images for everything from high school projects to cookbooks — usually without regard to copyright. Ad agencies, design firms and PR agencies also “borrow” Google Images for preliminary mockups of advertisements and brochures.
However, experienced photo buyers know not to use Google Images. The search engine typically directs them to lesser quality images and presents perplexing copyright issues.
Image theft, of course, is one of the biggest threats to the income of the professional photographer — and nowhere are images easier to steal than through Google. While software programs such as Google Grab and Google Internet Ripper are available for the purpose of snagging all of the free pictures a user wants, what’s to hack? Most people just right-click and download images to their hard drive.
In sum, Google Images is not likely to emerge as a competitor to stock agencies anytime soon, because
[tags]photography, photo blog, Google Images, john chapnick[/tags]