Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can Embedded Photo Metadata Help Your Website SEO?

There have been a number of recent articles pushing the idea that embedded photo metadata can boost your search engine ranking. However, while the practice of adding embedded metadata to increase findability and to protect the intellectual property of an image are both good ideas, there is a hitch to this concept from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.

That is, while it is possible for automated search bots to be configured to read the embedded photo metadata embedded in digital images, there is no evidence to suggest that the search engines are currently doing this; nor is there any evidence that it will help with the SEO for your images or your website — at least not without some additional work. That doesn't mean that embedding metadata in your images is not a good practice. It's just at this point in time that it has little value for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Read more about what can be done to leverage your metadata work in the article "Why Embedded Photo Metadata Won't Help Your SEO."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Myths about photo metadata?

How savvy are you about photo metadata? There are a number of myths or misconceptions that surround the practice of embedding copyright, contact information, and other types of “metadata” into digital image files — like JPEGs, TIFFs, Photoshop, DNG and other Raw files.

Take a look at the list of the Top 12 myths about embedded photo metadata and see if you can tell which are fact and which are fiction.

Here are the top five:

1. Embedded photo metadata is something that is hard to read unless you have Photoshop or some other professional software application.
2. Embedding photo metadata adds a lot of disk space overhead to an image file.
3. Removing embedded photo metadata is against the law.
4. Images that I upload to my social media or photo sharing sites will still retain my embedded photo metadata.
5. Images that I upload to my social media or photo sharing sites will still retain my embedded photo metadata.

Read the other 7 statements in the list as well as all the detailed commentary on the Controlled Vocabulary website.

Monday, October 4, 2010

facebooks new photo sharing fails Photo Metadata testing

I heard on CNET's "Buzz out Loud" Podcast last week that Facebook had updated their photo sharing to accommodate "High Resolution" images.

You can now upload images up to 2048 pixels on the long dimension. Note that I said "upload" -- not view. Your facebook friends (or other viewers if the album is made public) can download these larger sized images, but the online viewing is limited to a version that has been resized to a maximum of 720 pixels wide. I had hoped that this integration of Divvyshot's technology might mean that facebook would finally stop their "stripping" of embedded photo metadata, but that apparently is something that facebook users will still have to lobby for if they expect to see a change.

I've made a facebook album page available for public viewing using the CV Social Media Testbed image, which was fully loaded with embedded metadata. The actual image (now sans metadata thanks to facebook) can be viewed at this link. http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs316.ash2/59589_455012177944_532727944_5452967_4191590_n.jpg

As noted in the latest report on the "Survey regarding the Preservation of Photo Metadata by Social Media Websites" no metadata from the image is exposed on the facebook site. While there is an option on your facebook page to "Tag This Photo" the system does not pick up any of the embedded metadata tags such as those in the keyword field, like both flickr and Picasa Web Albums can do.

In addition, while the images that can be viewed online are now up to 720 pixels on the long dimension, they are still being "stripped" of all IPTC, XMP, and Exif metadata (ICC profile information is retained). The option for others to download a 'high resolution" version, only prompts a download (you can not view the image online). I downloaded this larger version and tested as well. The only difference between the "high resolution" version and the online 720 pixel wide version, was the resolution -- both are stripped of any information beyond the pixels and the ICC profile. Since all descriptive photo metadata is missing, this would mean that even the "original" is being modified before it is stored on their system -- and potential orphan works are being created, each time you upload an image to facebook.

For those that are concerned about retaining their intellectual properly, facebook receives a failing grade in our book. For now, our recommendation is to stick with Flickr or Picasa Web Gallery.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photo Metadata Utility Developer Gets "The Big Picture"

The SuperUtils company is one of the first software developers to spell out both pro and con arguments for the removal of embedded photo metadata. It is nice to see developers moving in this direction, as too many are intent to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) regarding "privacy" in terms of the information that may be divulged in the metadata of a digital image. It would be great if more developers took a similar approach.

Until we have tools that allow for the selective removal of metadata, the prudent approach would be to preserve all the information that is present in the image. If metadata is to be removed; then, at minimum, the person processing, saving, or uploading the image should be warned that this removal is about to happen and/or be informed about the consequences of their actions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

IPTC-PLUS Toolkit released by IPTC & PLUS

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) and the Picture Licensing Univeral System (PLUS) have jointly developed a plug-in metadata panel for use in Adobe Bridge (CS3 or higher) which allow users to read/write the full set of fields included in the IPTC Core, IPTC Extension and the PLUS metadata schemas.

Metadata are considered as being critical to the photo business as they are used for searching pictures and to indicate the rights and terms of their use. The tools are, as all IPTC and PLUS applications, free of charge and can be downloaded from the IPTC or PLUS websites.

The included tools help photographers, image libraries and photo agencies to store detailed descriptions of their content and data relevant for managing image copyrights directly in the images.

"IPTC was instrumental in the development of the PLUS Standards, and our active collaboration continues today with the release of the IPTC-PLUS Metadata Panels, allowing image creators, distributors and users to benefit from the full scope of image metadata, all from within a single tool," said Jeff Sedlik, President and CEO of the PLUS Coalition.

The release of this free IPTC-PLUS Toolkit means that anyone with compatible versions of Adobe Bridge will now have the means to easily embed the full set of IPTC fields as well PLUS metadata to digital images. Power users will love the fact that with this IPTC-PLUS Metadata panel you can now export out a full set of metadata fields into a Tab Separated Value (TSV) plain text file. In addition, you can modify that data and then import the resulting information through the same Metadata panel so that it is embedded directly into the file.

Also included in the download are comprehensive user guidelines, mapping charts and example images. The user guidelines define each of the fields available in the Adobe CS5 File Info dialogue, as well as those in the IPTC-PLUS Metadata Panels (IPTC Core, IPTC Extension and PLUS Schemas are covered). The field mapping charts will help those that are used to working with other image metadata tools, and the provided images are preloaded with embedded photo metatadata so you can test if the value of a field is shown in the expected field in the user interface.

Read more and download the IPTC-PLUS Toolkit -- the download file is in the olivey-green side bar at the right (a 9.1 mb download).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Having Metadata Export Issues with Aperture 3?

Photographers need to be aware that there are some real concerns regarding how Apple Aperture 3, is writing metadata; especially when these files are viewed by other applications in an imaging workflow.

Those using Aperture to write metadata to files that will be used with other programs at some point in their workflow need to do some testing. Those sharing images with others directly, or via the Internet may find that even basic fields like the Caption/Description and Keyword fields are not visible after exporting from Aperture 3.

You need to understand what is happening if you do additional work in Photoshop or Lightroom, and then archive your images using other programs. Otherwise you risk having some or all of your metadata disappear. This is because other programs may not see (recognize) the information you are adding to your images with Aperture 3. In addition, if you are importing images that have been worked on in other programs, some of that metadata may not be recognized or stored within Aperture.

You should really be concerned if you are fully using the various metadata fields, such as the Rights Usage Terms, Location fields, or geo-tagging your images, as many of these fields (and others), are not showing up in Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, Photo Mechanic, or Expression Media, after being exported from Aperture 3.

Visit the "Apple Aperture 3 Metadata Issues" article to find out more, including access to a chart that maps out what is seen and what is lost or hidden in JPEG, TIFF, DNG and proprietary NEF files.