23 votes

How Pinterest utterly ruined photo search on the internet

36 comments

  1. [3]
    NaraVara
    Link
    It's honestly a shame because Pinterest is a really cool site that does a lot of the discovery type stuff that Reddit is good at, but with a much more interesting and diverse user-base than Reddit...

    It's honestly a shame because Pinterest is a really cool site that does a lot of the discovery type stuff that Reddit is good at, but with a much more interesting and diverse user-base than Reddit has. But its UI is just such dogshit, covering everything up behind obnoxious dialog boxes and a pushy login screen that even manages to annoy you if you already have an account. Plus they make it a pain in the ass to actually find image sources for anything or even decent descriptions of images because it's all so heavily tailored towards hijacking image search results that they don't care about doing anything well once they get you in the site. I like to search for historical artifacts, swords, documents, art, etc. Pinterest has a ton of images of it, but good fucking luck figuring out anything about the provenance of anything you're looking at.

    Actually, Pinterest basically does every obnoxious thing that Reddit's garbage redesign does. It's especially noxious on mobile in the same way Reddit is now. But Reddit can get by because its power users can opt out of the redesign and elect to use browser extensions that make it more bearable. No such luck with Pinterest.

    There was a brief period where the site was a potential unicorn and internet darling, but their dogshit UI led to them getting their lunch eaten by Instagram even though it doesn't really fill the same niche. God I hate how this site's management and SEO obsession has utterly squandered the cool idea at its core.

    21 votes
    1. SunSpotter
      Link Parent
      My previous job was working for an estate sale company, and our basic procedure once we got into a new house was: clean, organize, research. And my boss made sure we researched everything. Because...

      My previous job was working for an estate sale company, and our basic procedure once we got into a new house was: clean, organize, research. And my boss made sure we researched everything. Because often times some small thing you never suspect is worth money, actually is. For more common items, a quick eBay search was all we needed. But for the obscure stuff that needed genuine research to figure out their history, significance and value, we used Google images to try and see if we could find a visual match.

      And of course, Pinterest liked to make that process harder. Most of the stuff Pinterest polluted the search results with was just irrelevant garbage. But the most frustrating results were ones that matched perfectly but wouldn't divulge the source or description, just as you said. Not long into that job I just started filtering Pinterest out completely when I had to use Google, and I ended up training my coworkers to do the same because there's no use trying to gain any valuable information from that site.

      12 votes
    2. post_below
      Link Parent
      I avoid pinterest pretty much completely for all the reasons you mentioned. I don't hate their mistakes though, I'm glad the executive team behind pinterest doesn't control a larger part of social...

      I avoid pinterest pretty much completely for all the reasons you mentioned. I don't hate their mistakes though, I'm glad the executive team behind pinterest doesn't control a larger part of social media.

      6 votes
  2. [4]
    NaraVara
    Link
    Another similar issue beyond Pinterest. Gify and Tenor have managed to do the same thing to searches for gifs, basically making it impossible to quickly find and direct-link a reaction gif via the...

    Another similar issue beyond Pinterest. Gify and Tenor have managed to do the same thing to searches for gifs, basically making it impossible to quickly find and direct-link a reaction gif via the open web. It only really works (debatably) well if you use an extension in services like iMessages or Slack to direct search and post from the service. Simply doing a search and pulling a direct link will be an exercise in frustration.

    IMGUR also dominates results, but they at least make it somewhat easy to find a working direct-link.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      lou
      Link Parent
      Imgur makes it easy to get a direct link on desktop. On mobile even direct links will load the entire webpage and it is super slow. They'll try to make you download the app too.

      Imgur makes it easy to get a direct link on desktop. On mobile even direct links will load the entire webpage and it is super slow. They'll try to make you download the app too.

      5 votes
      1. admicos
        Link Parent
        Lately direct links have been redirecting on desktop too. (Or at least, in my experience) I've been using workarounds to make the page a bit more usable, but it's still not a direct image

        Lately direct links have been redirecting on desktop too. (Or at least, in my experience)

        I've been using workarounds to make the page a bit more usable, but it's still not a direct image

        2 votes
      2. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        On the app you have to touch/press the image in the album before clicking the link button to get a direct link

        On the app you have to touch/press the image in the album before clicking the link button to get a direct link

  3. weystrom
    Link
    So that was my first thought when I saw the headline. I see the bigger point that the article is making, but it feels like a bit of a stretch, when you can make the whole thing a non-issue by...

    “Just when I think I’m going to a website for a supplier of brass weatherstripping — nope, it’s Pinterest,” she says. “It’s time-consuming.” She’s started appending “-pinterest” to her search queries to exclude any results from the site.

    So that was my first thought when I saw the headline. I see the bigger point that the article is making, but it feels like a bit of a stretch, when you can make the whole thing a non-issue by slightly modifying your search query.

    1 vote
  4. NoblePath
    Link
    Plug for new search engine kagi.com. Looks promising.

    Plug for new search engine kagi.com. Looks promising.

    1 vote
  5. [27]
    hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    Hey pro-tip: Google is a bad search engine and a bad company. DuckDuckGo is better. Its image search page still allows you to go directly to the image itself, not just the site the image is hosted...

    Hey pro-tip: Google is a bad search engine and a bad company. DuckDuckGo is better. Its image search page still allows you to go directly to the image itself, not just the site the image is hosted on:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=old+forest&iax=images&ia=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2F84%2Fc9%2F40%2F84c940a5585ef0a2a4923736f4260c01.jpg

    Bing goes a step further and let's you see all the pages and sizes of any given image in its search results. So, at least for searching images, you might actually want to try Bing

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      petrichor
      Link Parent
      I can simply right-click and select "Open Image in New Tab" on Google in Firefox.

      I can simply right-click and select "Open Image in New Tab" on Google in Firefox.

      7 votes
      1. babypuncher
        Link Parent
        That often gives me the smaller cached version from Google instead of the original

        That often gives me the smaller cached version from Google instead of the original

        4 votes
    2. [4]
      bub
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      DuckDuckGo is my default search engine, but I have to admit its results are often poor compared to the Google results. Does it still just pull from Bing's results, do you know? Because at some...

      DuckDuckGo is my default search engine, but I have to admit its results are often poor compared to the Google results.

      Does it still just pull from Bing's results, do you know? Because at some point in the past I was told that DuckDuckGo is just a privacy layer around Bing, basically.

      I think the thing that annoys me the most about DuckDuckGo is that putting a phrase in quotes doesn't work. It just gives you the same results as if you didn't use quotes. It seems like it's scared to show you a "nothing found" screen, so it instead shows you a bunch of garbage you didn't ask for.

      Basically, I use DuckDuckGo as a "first attempt," and then if the results are poor I often have to re-try my search in Google, unfortunately.

      7 votes
      1. skullkid2424
        Link Parent
        So its a bit different than just a privacy layer around bing. But Bing is probably one of the biggest contributors to their results.
        6 votes
      2. post_below
        Link Parent
        Yes, DDG is still primarily Bing. Bing powers most of the popular privacy centric meta search engines. Their API is cheaper (free up to 3 requests per second) and has less restrictions than Google's.

        Yes, DDG is still primarily Bing. Bing powers most of the popular privacy centric meta search engines. Their API is cheaper (free up to 3 requests per second) and has less restrictions than Google's.

        4 votes
      3. Protected
        Link Parent
        Just tack !gi in front of the search string in duckduckgo if the results aren't good enough.

        Just tack !gi in front of the search string in duckduckgo if the results aren't good enough.

        3 votes
    3. [19]
      lou
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If you disregard privacy concerns, is DDG really better than Google? For all (or at least most...) intents and purposes? I hear that a lot, but I kinda doubt it. I mean, if privacy is a concern,...

      If you disregard privacy concerns, is DDG really better than Google? For all (or at least most...) intents and purposes? I hear that a lot, but I kinda doubt it.

      I mean, if privacy is a concern, why not use a "Google cleaner" like Startpage instead?

      5 votes
      1. [15]
        bub
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's not about being better, really, it's mostly about privacy. I don't think DuckDuckGo's results are better. But they're usually good enough. Mostly it's about not having your privacy violated...

        It's not about being better, really, it's mostly about privacy. I don't think DuckDuckGo's results are better. But they're usually good enough.

        Mostly it's about not having your privacy violated by a company that wants to build up a personalized targeted advertising profile for you. It's creepy and it's wrong.

        EDIT: It appears the question I responded to was edited to "disregard privacy concerns," so never mind I guess.

        3 votes
        1. [13]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          You do know that you can just tell Google to not target ads, right? You'll get less interesting and less relevant ads, but you can stop it from happening. It's not like avoiding targeted ads is...

          You do know that you can just tell Google to not target ads, right? You'll get less interesting and less relevant ads, but you can stop it from happening. It's not like avoiding targeted ads is some impossible task, only made possible by declaring any use of Google heretical.

          2 votes
          1. [12]
            skullkid2424
            Link Parent
            They are still likely building up information and a profile on you even if you don't have targeted ads enabled.

            They are still likely building up information and a profile on you even if you don't have targeted ads enabled.

            3 votes
            1. [11]
              MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              If you look at my link, you see that you can turn off tracking, but also... so what? They know that I like video games, and watch antique refurbishings, storm drain clearings, and let's plays on...

              If you look at my link, you see that you can turn off tracking, but also... so what? They know that I like video games, and watch antique refurbishings, storm drain clearings, and let's plays on YouTube, but so what?

              I get that there's privacy concerns for certain situations and people, but Google's ad profile is talked about as if it's an inherently dangerous thing and I just don't see it.

              2 votes
              1. [6]
                kfwyre
                Link Parent
                The Equifax breach made me wary of any company that builds a profile on me. Even if Google itself does nothing wrong with your data, there’s still a risk of it getting out to someone else who...

                The Equifax breach made me wary of any company that builds a profile on me. Even if Google itself does nothing wrong with your data, there’s still a risk of it getting out to someone else who might.

                If that data doesn’t exist in the first place — because the profile is never built and tracked — then there’s no worry that it might get out or even that Google, ten or twenty years down the road, might change course and decide to leverage it in ways they haven’t in the past.

                8 votes
                1. [5]
                  MimicSquid
                  Link Parent
                  And if I was doing anything even the slightest bit dubious by anyone's standards, I would use a service that provided more privacy. I recognize that being so socially acceptable (straight white...

                  And if I was doing anything even the slightest bit dubious by anyone's standards, I would use a service that provided more privacy. I recognize that being so socially acceptable (straight white middle class male with boring hobbies) is a position of privilege, and people who have a history of being discriminated against for various purposes do have reasons to be wary, even if they're currently tolerated or accepted. I'm not saying that this is fine for everyone, but all the warnings are just that Google will know everything about me and could one day put it to nefarious uses... and never explain what those nefarious uses might be, as if just being known is its own threat. And perhaps that lack of understanding is its own sign of privilege, that the idea of being seen by the large forces who can have power over me isn't very scary.

                  1 vote
                  1. mtset
                    Link Parent
                    This is pretty spot on, imo. If you genuinely don't think any hypothetical future bad actor would want to target you, that's wonderful; if greatly minimizes your threat model and means you can...

                    perhaps that lack of understanding is its own sign of privilege, that the idea of being seen by the large forces who can have power over me isn't very scary.

                    This is pretty spot on, imo. If you genuinely don't think any hypothetical future bad actor would want to target you, that's wonderful; if greatly minimizes your threat model and means you can focus primarily on convenient.

                    I will say, to your point, that the people I know who most quickly understand why digital privacy is a big deal to some, are all Eastern European and ethnically Jewish. It's not a coincidence.

                    5 votes
                  2. [3]
                    kfwyre
                    Link Parent
                    Sorry if I came across as critiquing you! That wasn't my intention at all. I wanted to highlight why even neutral data gathering can be a liability, but I didn't speak to what I think you're...

                    Sorry if I came across as critiquing you! That wasn't my intention at all. I wanted to highlight why even neutral data gathering can be a liability, but I didn't speak to what I think you're looking for, which is the actual nefariousness that could be carried out with that data.

                    I mentioned malicious actors earlier, which are a genuine concern, but, honestly, they're not really my primary problem. I also don't think that Google is suddenly going to turn on a dime and prosecute me for my search history or anything like that. In reality, my concerns about data harvesting aren't really about me individually at all, but more about the scale at which data-hungry companies operate. Google is ruled by advertising, and advertising is persuasion. The nefariousness of advertising is that we all think we're above it or immune to it, but if that were the case, it wouldn't be the industry driver of the largest companies in the world. I believe companies like Facebook and Google prioritize advertising so strongly that they contribute to an environment that erodes autonomy and advantages negative behavior patterns in service of that.

                    I'd like to believe that, by opting out of their platforms, I can remain above all that bad stuff, but it unfortunately runs deep. Advertising-centric models for internet participation are so ingrained in us now that they've basically created a concurrent set of "extremely online" behaviors that are maladaptive for humans but great for companies.

                    I think the ever-increasing data stores those companies are sitting on are allowing them to get better at this, and ultimately that's my main concern. The students I have had over the course of my career are the first generation to grow up in an environment in which their worlds are shaped by data-hungry companies that simultaneously monitor their every move and also engineer ways to make those moves more common and observable for the purposes of generating more data and ad impressions. This is incredibly effective. A teacher I work with once described the student experience in her class as a "50 minute interruption for Instagram". The students in her class weren't interested in the slightest in what she was teaching -- they were simply counting down the minutes until they could sneak out their phones during passing period to check them again.

                    I think the we're very far off from a data-privacy smoking gun situation, where Google suddenly flips and maliciously targets me as an individual. Instead, I feel like data-gathering is more akin to climate change, where the negative effects are felt slowly over time and we become habituated to them. I'm under no illusions that I'm doing anything to stop this by opting myself out of their data gathering, as they still have plenty of raw materials from others and likely a shadow profile of me anyways. Instead, it just feels right for me to abstain as best as I can.

                    That's the intellectual side of things, but there's also a more emotional, more petty, more vindictive part to my thoughts on this topic. If I'm being really honest: I have a bit of a genuine resentment for the fact that I'm being monetized by others. Personal data is big money, and it grinds my gears that people are getting rich off of that and I'm not seeing my share. You want to use my data to get rich? Pay me for it -- otherwise get lost.

                    On the money angle, there's also the idea that I get to watch my students watching other people talk for a living who aren't teachers and make millions of dollars for it. I was joking with one of my coworkers the other day about how we could make so much more money if, like every single YouTube/Twitch streamer my students spend hours of their days watching, we made our lessons sponsored. I could just plug Audible, NordVPN, and Monster Energy to them on the daily and then take that big corporate money straight to the bank.

                    The idea sounds darkly exploitative when I say it, because everybody expects teachers to act in their students' best interest rather than for selfish financial gain, but tech companies get not just free passes but sweet fat checks for the exact same idea -- even when they know they are directly harming kids.

                    YouTube is more than happy to monopolize my students' attention, often making it harder for them to focus in school, and they're doing it not for any noble goal or to help my students' positive development as individuals but instead for the purposes of dropping 10 second Vrbo and Liberty Mutual ads on them en masse. They're selling out my students and getting rich doing it. I'm mad that this is so normal and so mundane that we don't even really question it. I'm also, honestly and genuinely, mad at how much more money there is in advertising to kids than there is in educating them or helping them become the best versions of themselves.

                    5 votes
                    1. [2]
                      MimicSquid
                      Link Parent
                      Thank you. I really appreciate your insight and perspective. I hadn't thought about it as a wear on the social fabric as opposed to it being a comparatively personal issue. To be honest, if you...

                      Thank you. I really appreciate your insight and perspective. I hadn't thought about it as a wear on the social fabric as opposed to it being a comparatively personal issue. To be honest, if you wanted to be a YouTuber instead of a teacher, I'd follow your channel. You deserve more of a platform than you have.

                      1 vote
                      1. kfwyre
                        Link Parent
                        That is unbelievably kind of you to say. I’m floored. And, not gonna lie, the thought of becoming a YouTuber crosses my mind every single morning when I watch students in my homeroom watching...

                        That is unbelievably kind of you to say. I’m floored.

                        And, not gonna lie, the thought of becoming a YouTuber crosses my mind every single morning when I watch students in my homeroom watching MrBeast and I think about his net worth compared to mine.

                        2 votes
              2. [2]
                bub
                Link Parent
                After many, many internet conversations about the right to privacy, it seems like sometimes people get it, and sometimes people just don't, and it's very unlikely that anything I say will change...

                After many, many internet conversations about the right to privacy, it seems like sometimes people get it, and sometimes people just don't, and it's very unlikely that anything I say will change anyone's mind. But here goes, I guess.

                In the case of Google, it's not hard to argue that they've established an effective monopoly in the internet search space (and others, youtube, etc). This makes them the de facto portal for most peoples' daily internet usage. The average person who doesn't talk in tech circles probably doesn't know there are alternatives, and probably doesn't feel any need to look for alternatives. The average person also does not understand how data about their activity is accumulated and used for profit. They have not been adequately informed.

                And the average person can't just not use the internet. There is a very high chance that their occupation and daily life require internet access, and a very high chance that they'll have to use a Google service. To the average person, Google services are increasingly more like a utility than a commodity, just like the internet in general.

                So when Google keeps records of every little search, every scrap of information about an individual whose data passes through their servers, it's like if your national mail service were in the practice of carefully opening, reading, and resealing every letter they carried, to their own private ends, without adequate disclosure of the practice, and with no oversight whatsoever.

                You wouldn't say "it's just a letter to my grandma talking about her cats, so I don't care if they read it," or "I've never sent anything illegal in the mail, so why would I have to worry?" That would clearly be missing the point.

                If this still seems just fine to you, I have no idea what else I can say about it.

                And forgive me if I don't wholeheartedly trust Google, a company built on advertising money, to not keep data about my private life just because I ask them nicely not to in their user settings. There would be no consequences for them if they just lied and kept it anyway.

                6 votes
                1. Pistos
                  Link Parent
                  Well, I think there are indeed consequences which would cost them money if they were found out; e.g. GDPR fines. However, I wouldn't trust that they aren't doing things to not be found out, and/or...

                  There would be no consequences for them if they just lied and kept it anyway.

                  Well, I think there are indeed consequences which would cost them money if they were found out; e.g. GDPR fines. However, I wouldn't trust that they aren't doing things to not be found out, and/or just eating the costs of being found out (because the malicious behaviour might be a net profit anyway).

                  1 vote
              3. skullkid2424
                Link Parent
                Theres a whole discussion to be had on privacy in general - but its not just the youtube videos you watch that they are tracking. Depending how much of their ecosystem you use, they are tracking...

                Theres a whole discussion to be had on privacy in general - but its not just the youtube videos you watch that they are tracking. Depending how much of their ecosystem you use, they are tracking physical locations, all web browsing, shopping trends, and more. Theres a lot of information up for grabs, and a lot can be figured out using your data. Google (and other similar companies) have a huge trove of wealth in your data.

                Google doesn't sell your data - but it can be hard to really protect that data once its out there. Even with "anonymized" information, there is often enough information to create a fingerprint and pinpoint individuals. Google has to deal with warrents and requests from the government - so it also depends how well you trust the government to limit the scope of their requests. Or if they already have access to that data.

                Ultimately its up to you how much of a concern privacy is. For me, google is making money off of my data (even with tracking and personalized ads turned off). And I don't trust that people won't do nefarious things with my data (its not usually physically dangerous things - but there are lots of ways to take advantage of people given enough data). Theres a reason why privacy centric products like DDG (avoid tracking) and AdNauseum (generates lots of fake data) exist.

                1 vote
              4. Pistos
                Link Parent
                Even if something bad isn't happening to you at the moment, something bad could happen in the future if the data is accessed later by a malicious actor.

                Even if something bad isn't happening to you at the moment, something bad could happen in the future if the data is accessed later by a malicious actor.

        2. lou
          Link Parent
          Not at all! Thank you for the very candid and informative answer ;)

          EDIT: It appears the question I responded to was edited to "disregard privacy concerns," so never mind I guess

          Not at all! Thank you for the very candid and informative answer ;)

      2. skullkid2424
        Link Parent
        You can use DDG's bang feature to quickly search elsewhere if you aren't seeing the results. Adding a quick !g to the beginning of your query will search google (or !startpage if that is...

        You can use DDG's bang feature to quickly search elsewhere if you aren't seeing the results. Adding a quick !g to the beginning of your query will search google (or !startpage if that is preferable). Its an easy way to compensate for any searches where DDG isn't cutting it.

        3 votes
      3. [2]
        post_below
        Link Parent
        DDG (Bing) is objectively worse at a lot of things, better at some. Where privacy is concerned, of course, DDG is far better. StartPage was acquired by an ad tech company, most no longer recommend...

        DDG (Bing) is objectively worse at a lot of things, better at some.

        Where privacy is concerned, of course, DDG is far better.

        StartPage was acquired by an ad tech company, most no longer recommend it as a privacy option.

        2 votes
        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          I honestly haven't noticed. This was definitely the case a few years ago when I first started using DDG, but nowadays the number of times I feel the need to insert a !G to my query are few and far...

          I honestly haven't noticed. This was definitely the case a few years ago when I first started using DDG, but nowadays the number of times I feel the need to insert a !G to my query are few and far between and mostly relegated to when I'm trying to do deep research on something. In those cases I end up pulling results from both sources so it's not even like DDG is better so much as different.

          The main place I have issues is with maps. Google really has the most up-to-the-minute data on stores and addresses in ways DDG and Apple Maps just don't match. Anything well established is fine, but it can be a bit of a mess for stores that are new. Over pandemic, with so many new closures and openings, other services really couldn't keep up.

          1 vote
    4. Apos
      Link Parent
      You can use the view image extension to bring back the view image button on Google.

      You can use the view image extension to bring back the view image button on Google.

      3 votes