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I am building an online game that works with images. The user has to guess who's in the altered image that the website displays. So far so good just that if the user does a google search for the image he can find the answer within seconds.

How should I alter the image in order to get it off the google images search?

EDIT: The images I use are already available on google. eg: Barrack Obama. We use images of well known people in our game. That's why I wanted to edit them and avoid the google search

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  • Hi John, You cannot edit the photo itself to make it not show up in google and I think this question is off topic for a design site. I would suggest looking at Googles help docs Prevent images from appearing in Image Search on pages that you own.
    – AndrewH
    Aug 20 '15 at 13:45
  • Thank you Andrew for your answer. There must be a way to change the image so it avoids the search pattern of google.
    – John
    Aug 20 '15 at 13:48
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    Should I try on the coding stackexchange website?
    – John
    Aug 20 '15 at 13:50
  • @John Yes you can edit the image, try with my answer. There's no magic in this, it's pattern recognition. There's no tag or anything in my image, it's just simple changes.
    – go-junta
    Aug 20 '15 at 14:13
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If you need to use images that are well known (or at least are searchable online) you can mess up the way Google recognize the images by doing small changes to the images. You need to destroy the patterns that make the image easy to associate.

For example, with face recognition or pictures that are already online:

  1. You can change the background color and use a color that will "merge" the image of the subject with it
  2. AND then you also do a flip horizontal and add an angle to the image.

Original

This is an example of an original, Google recognize it instantly:

Happy Little Trees Bob Ross FTW

This is the result on Google image search of the original image:

Everybody knows this lovely guy

Modified

This is a modified version:

Bob Ross still the best

This is the result on Google image search of the modified image:

Master of all

You have no choice in doing something like this since your issue is not the indexing; your issue is probably that other sites have the image indexed and people can save your image and do a reverse search of it (If I understood the question well.)

Make some tests, flip the image, rotate a bit, add a pattern to the background, etc. You'll find a formula that works for you. My example is a crude one!


Barack Obama example

Original:

Barack Obama Original

Search result:

Search Result original Obama

Modified:

Barack Obama modified

Search result of modified:

Obama mofidied

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I assume you mean people are right-clicking the image and doing a reverse google image search. An easy (read, hack) way of getting past this is putting a transparent layer on top of the image so people can't right-click on the image directly. If people really want to cheat, you can't stop them and they will succeed. Performing image tweaks is probably a lot more effort than it is worth.

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You don't have to edit your image to prevent it from "GoogleBot"! You can use URL Remover Link link to specify search Engine not to track or crawl the links!

There is also a automatic way to tell GoogleBot not to track specific images or the folders!

For example, if you want Google to exclude the dogs.jpg image that appears on your site at www.yoursite.com/images/dogs.jpg, add the following to your robots.txt file:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg 

The next time Google crawls your site, we'll see this directive and drop your image from our search results.

To remove all the images on your site from our index, place the following robots.txt file in your server root:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

You can find more details here

Hope this answers your question.

-Pratik Shah

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  • thanks for suggestion Pratik but the images I use are already available on google. eg: Barrack Obama. We use images of well known people in our game. That's why I wanted to edit them and avoid the google search
    – John
    Aug 20 '15 at 14:01
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    @John in that case I don't think there is any straight forward way to prevent users from Goggling! There is always a way to cheat! Unless you are showing a partial image! Aug 20 '15 at 14:06

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