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We have images! ... In search results?
May 23, 2013 7:52 PM   Subscribe

I used the search field while logged out tonight, and saw this: thumbnails next to search results. Is this some left-over from MetaFiltrest, or have thumbnails been part of non-user searches for a while?

I realize now that non-user searches are different from user searches. But how are the images related to the posts? Checking the related threads, I don't see the thumbnail images anywhere.
posted by filthy light thief to MetaFilter-Related at 7:52 PM (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Wow, I have never seen that before.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:54 PM on May 23, 2013


When you're logged out, the search uses Google. So you're seeing the same thing you'd see with a search at google.com. Google is making those decisions—I'm not sure how they're related either. Maybe they're pulling them from sources that are linked-to in the post. I'm not sure.

The local search uses quite a few server resources so we only make that available to members. That's why there's a difference. There are no images in the local search.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:54 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing this is a little bit of Google Image Search magic, maybe they're guessing on what images are related to what posts?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:55 PM on May 23, 2013


Yeah, trying the search at Google I'm not seeing any images. So yeah, some sort of Google magic with the embedded search only? I don't know.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:56 PM on May 23, 2013


Hmm, looking at the first post a bit more, I see that the thumbnail image is being pulled from one of the external links on the post, so this is maybe Google trying to pretty up their custom site search engine stuff with a bit of logic about what it knows is going on with linked sites.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:57 PM on May 23, 2013


mathowie: possibly. I didn't dig deep enough at first, as the image associated with the first link is the last link in the post.

I'm interested that this was done on the Google side of things.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:16 PM on May 23, 2013


It's happening with some of the fancier "magazine style" RSS readers as well. I'm using Feedly, and if a post on th eBlue has an external link with pictures or video, it will display it next to the title.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:38 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is it related to the April Fool's "MetaTumblr" site put up this year? Cached images from that perhaps?
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:21 AM on May 24, 2013


Images - just when you thought they were out, google pulls them back in.
posted by Think_Long at 5:50 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you have a browser extension installed. Custom Search Engine doesn't throw in image results like that. I suppose there's a slight chance it could be an experiment but I've never seen it and I deal with CSE on a regular basis.
posted by GuyZero at 8:19 AM on May 24, 2013


Oh, my bad I logged out and there they are. Huh. Whadya know?
posted by GuyZero at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't have any browser extensions installed and I see the thumbnails next to the non-user search link in filthy light thief's post.
posted by shelleycat at 8:22 AM on May 24, 2013


The funny thing is that i really do use CSE all the time and I haven't see this before now. I'll have to go check the docs I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 8:24 AM on May 24, 2013


What I find interesting is that they appear to pull the image from a site in the links, but when you click on the thumbnail you go to the mefi post rather than the site where the image originally came from. I always expect that clicking on a thumb will take me to where ever the larger version of that image is.
posted by shelleycat at 8:25 AM on May 24, 2013


I'm getting some thumbnails whether I'm logged in OR logged out.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:36 AM on May 24, 2013


zombieflanders: I'm using Feedly, and if a post on th eBlue has an external link with pictures or video, it will display it next to the title.

I get it with Feedly too. I think they are still using Google Reader's backend, so the Googs is clearly involved somewhere along the line.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:38 AM on May 24, 2013


Oh wait - you do have to log out to start getting image thumbs. I logged back in while I was still on the search page and that's why I got them for a subsequent search. They don't come up if you START searching when you're logged in.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:39 AM on May 24, 2013


Curious Artificer: Oh wait - you do have to log out to start getting image thumbs. I logged back in while I was still on the search page and that's why I got them for a subsequent search. They don't come up if you START searching when you're logged in.

I was just about to post the same behavior.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 AM on May 24, 2013


I get them and I've been logged in this whole time. Only from the non-user searches link up there (no other links in the post) and I haven't tried searching for other stuff but still.
posted by shelleycat at 8:42 AM on May 24, 2013


shelleycat: I get them and I've been logged in this whole time. Only from the non-user searches link up there (no other links in the post) and I haven't tried searching for other stuff but still.

I think it's just not possible for a logged-in user to get to the non-logged-in search page unless they are following a direct link or manipulating the URL manually.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:45 AM on May 24, 2013


Anyone for pissing elephants?
posted by panboi at 10:46 AM on May 24, 2013


I think the more important question here is why did you log out?!
posted by double block and bleed at 2:53 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


double block and bleed: "I think the more important question here is why did you log out?!"

Clearly he was going to a computer he'd never used before and therefore was never logged in on. It's the only explanation.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:51 PM on May 25, 2013


So us saps paid our $5 so as not to have the thumbnails you were giving the non-users? And then you're all like, 'oh it's Google, it was like that when we got here, it was three other guys, actually it's a feature...' Well you fat cat mods needn't think you've heard the last of this!
posted by Segundus at 12:09 AM on May 26, 2013


Seriously, though, a peaceful text environment is one of the reasons I like it here. If I really had my druthers I'd be reading in monochrome 40x80 text mode. Let's face it, that's what computers really work in, isn't it?
posted by Segundus at 12:57 AM on May 26, 2013


Sorry I think the euphoric phase might be kicking in. I should log out and go for a run.
posted by Segundus at 1:09 AM on May 26, 2013


Segundus - bah, the VESA 132x43 mode is far superior. 80x40? you're living in the past, man!
posted by russm at 8:46 AM on May 26, 2013


I was checking MetaFilter on a computer that was not my own.

And for everyone following along at home, the logged out (or non-)user gets a different search URL than the logged in user:

non-user: http://www.metafilter.com/search.mefi?q=dog+training&sa=Search
user: http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/search.mefi?site=mefi&q=dog+training

I'm not using any plug-ins, this is just what I personally experienced.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:00 PM on May 27, 2013


Yep, that's the expected behavior. Members get the resource intensive local search in the members-only /contribute directory and non-members get the embedded Google search at the root directory.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:27 PM on May 27, 2013


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