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Google’s Instant Preview – Outraging Website Owners By Omitting Image Content!

There’s an old saying: The more things change, the more they remain the same. I would agree with that in today’s culture if just one word were different.

As a child of the sixties, yes, a flower child, I was a product of Timothy Leary’s mantra which served as my generation’s guiding light: “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.” Translation: “Get Enlightened and Be Your Own Person.” Reinforced by every countercultural phenomenon during that generation, from Woodstock to the Beatles, from Andy Warhol to Peter Max, from Mick Jagger to Twiggy, the more different you were, the more famous you became.

When I embarked on my marketing career, some ten years later, this mode of thinking was still de rigueur, the prevailing cultural trend.

In today’s world, however, being different is no longer a good thing. At least, not when you are a business on the Internet. If you aren’t on Facebook and Twitter, you’re considered so last century. Keeping up with the latest on Pinterest or Tumblr? No? Better get with it. If you blink, you may miss something! And, above all, Google rules. If you don’t abide by all things Google, there are stiff penalties to pay.

As a new twist on SEO, (search engine optimization, for those of you who are still back in the sixties), Google has recently introduced Instant Preview, an image of a representative web page which can be conveniently activated by hovering over the trigger arrows which appear to the right of search results. For some, this has been a wonderful enhancement, allowing people to quickly scan the page to decide if they should commit to a visit. For others, like me, my website home page has suffered the indignities of Google’s image editing process which has resulted in a page with a large empty white space where my newly created slideshow should appear, something I worked on for months to replace my previous Flash files which were problematic for Google to recognize in addition to browsers on mobile or other Flash-phobic devices.

I admit I was late to address the Flash problem, to “dumb down” my site as I sarcastically alluded to it, but, hey, I work for a living and often find myself immersed in some industrial detail for weeks on end to earn my paycheck. I find it incomprehensible that only two months after launching my new website, I am discovering that my Flash fix has created a new problem. After some extensive research, I have learned that if your website includes an image of a cat, for example, and your website is all about cats, then Google will gladly allow the cat image in its Instant Preview. However, if your website is only using the cat image as a pictorial analogy or symbol for some abstract idea, then Google will omit that image to avoid misrepresenting your page. Okay. Begrudgingly agreed. I see the logic.

The solution would be to have Instant Preview capable of showing my creative slideshow in its animated entirety so that its composite images add up to the correct representation of the website as they were designed to do. But for now, I suppose Google hasn’t arrived at that technological juncture so I am now stuck with the job of redesigning (further “dumbing down”) my website (again!) to stay competitive in the Instant Preview market. So much for trying to be different.

But, how dare they! One disgruntled web owner asks how Google has the right to tamper with his copyrighted material. Another large corporation rebels by choosing to bar Google from applying its Instant Preview technology on its website altogether through specific coding since its site is primarily Flash content. I, on the other hand, just shrug and resign myself to the realities of the twenty-first century. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

The lesson here is that the name of the game nowadays is conform, conform, conform. But, as an only child who has spent a lifetime doing her own thing, marching to the beat of a different drum, and blazing her own trail through the quagmires of life, swimming in a sea of sameness truly violates the soul.

Yet here we are. The more things change, the more they become the same.


Marilyn Bontempo, president of Mid-Hudson Marketing, based in Holmes, New York, has been developing strategies for business success for more than 36 years. A professional writer and graduate of Bard College, she has won numerous awards for excellence in marketing, photography, graphics, writing and web design. As a specialist in branding, she assists many of her clients with management of their social media and public relations initiatives. In addition, she handles e-commerce for a number of online merchants not only on their own websites but through eBay, Amazon and others. View her work at http://www.midhudsonmarketing.com

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Marilyn Bontempo

Marilyn Bontempo, president of Mid-Hudson Marketing, based in Holmes, New York, has been developing strategies for business success for more than 45 years. A professional writer and graduate of Bard College, she has won numerous awards for excellence in marketing, photography, graphics, writing and web design. As a specialist in branding, she assists many of her clients with management of their social media and public relations initiatives. In addition, she handles e-commerce for a number of online merchants not only on their own websites but through eBay, Amazon and others. View her work at https://www.midhudsonmarketing.com

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