Google uses image from our site
WE are surprised to have been told by our friends at the
rival newspaper, the Champion this week that an images from an edition in 2003
had been used by Google. This paper had just run a story this week about the
inappropriate use of an image on Google Search. On investigation after they made
a passing comment about it, they found that Google had lifted it from our site!
Due to building work at our office, the Champion had found it hard to contact us
but eventually managed to contact us. Our Editor was shocked and highly upset to
hear about it. “According to many in the industry, we are the first
accredited online only newspaper in the UK, so our archive dates back far more
than most. This means we are often used for research, especially about local
history; also, we use Google as one of our search tools, on our archive page.
Sadly, in this case, we have been blindsided by how Google has indexed us. One
of our staff passed over a note that the Champion has been trying to contact us
on Friday after discovering an image they had found on Google Search, when you
typed in Southport had been hosted in one of our archived editions. After typing
in “Southport” into Google I was shocked to see that Google, out of all the
images we have taken over the years, picked the one image that was most
inappropriate image for its portrayal of “Southport”! This image was of a
forensic search taking place on Southport Sand Dunes. As many of you know, we
very, very rarely cover any items of this nature in photo form. So we dug
further and found it was from a 2003 edition! How unfortunate Google should have
chosen so incredibly badly? The image thankfully showed nothing of a personal
nature , nevertheless the fact that it was of this search taking place was quite
shocking and when the Champion found out and tweeted it, it upset the family of
the victim that such an image would be used by Google! We thank the Champion for
alerting us to this, and we have conducted our own research. The image was not
saved with any META data saying Southport, nor was it saved as “Southport” or
any related wording. It did have a watermark on from the image supplier that
contained the word “Southport” though. But lots of our images, including our
headers contain watermarking and even META tags, so why this was chosen, we have
no idea! On discovery we changed the image and removed the old one. We have also
removed the page. But disturbingly, this has not totally eradicated it, as we
have found out Google has cached it! We then contacted Google as we, like the
family, want the image to be removed! Luckily as we are regulated and are a
credited media outlet, we managed to get Google to reply. We hope that the
family do not blame us for this error and also we express our deepest apologies
for any upset. Sadly, I think this type of thing will happen more and more as
the web gets bigger and more complex. The new HTML5 is only making matters
worse, when it comes to indexing via sites like Google. But for us, it
highlights a growing problem. How do we allow searching of our websites to take
place and for the retention of historical archived news to be achieved, without
issues like this happening? We know Google is a highly complex tool, and errors
do take place, but for us, the most important thing is that it Google corrects
this for the Family, as we never would have thought anything like this would
have happened or could have happened! We would like to thank Google however, for
the fast reply to this issue and hope they can sort it out just as quickly.”
A spokesperson for Google on Friday Evening, after both they and ourselves found
out said:- “We are looking into this for you now and will fix it. We are
very sorry it has happened. We will action this as quickly as possible; however
the time of day may make this process slightly more difficult. We will be in
touch soonest.” This was swiftly followed by an email of the same
Over the last few months we have been looking at setting up a meet the media
event, like a few we have run before and this issue has highlighted the fact, to
us why we feel it is important for the public to talk to us!
Please note that we are not responsible for this and that the
fact our Editor's Facebook Page is playing up is not connected in any way! We
will keep you posted in the next issue on both problems. Once again our Paper
would like to publicly thank the Champion for alerting us to this issue!
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