Categories: Indexing and Results :

Automatic thumbnails - no work required!

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Automatic thumbnails - no work required! hxu-cse 11/1/11 9:50 PM
Hi there!  I know many of you have already mastered our PageMap tools and know how to add thumbnail markups to your pages so they can be displayed in your search results...  

For those of you who do not want to modify your webpages (for whatever reasons... "why do I have to update my pages that are years old?") or you do not have access to the sites that are included in your search engine, this is a good news for you!  We just launched a feature that automatically finds representative images and automatically adds them to search results snippets!

You can try it live at

We are working hard to improve the coverage and the quality of the thumbnails, so please do let us know if our algorithm is suboptimal for your sites. Thanks!
(unknown) 11/10/11 5:29 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! hxu-cse 11/10/11 6:40 PM
Thanks for the feedback!  That'll definitely help us to address corner cases and improve the thumbnail quality.  Do you have some specific examples (urls) that we do a poor job? 
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! mspotilas 11/16/11 12:02 AM

here is my feedback as a Blogger and two questions:

1. Blogger thumbnails youtube videos, and the thumbnail is available in blog feed. Custom search does not thumbnail youtube videos. Youtube video thumbnail is easy to implement and I think it would be a great feature for custom search, too.

2. In some pages I have a javascript (or flash) slideshow of pictures. These pages don't have automatic thumbnail, that is ok, but I would like to specify one (the first picture of the slideshow, for example). I could do this with thumbnail <meta> or pagemap, but in Blogger it is hard and worksome to make page specific <head> sections. My question is: must the thumbnail <meta> and/or pagemap be in <head> or are they parsed also from html <body>?

3. For some blog pages, mainly archive pages, the automatic thumb may not be good (it is usually from the first post of that archive page). Can you somehow prevent the creation/showing of a thumbnail for a page, for example by using empty content for <meta>?

Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! hxu-cse 11/17/11 5:04 PM
Thanks for the feedback! 
2. Yes, you can specify <meta> or PageMap within the <body> section (which is now supported but undocumented).
3. There is a workaround. For individual pages that you don't want automatic thumbnail to show up, you could specify an empty thumbnail in a PageMap (note that it has to be a PageMap, <meta> won't work in this case). As simple as:
  <!-- <PageMap><DataObject type="thumbnail"/></PageMap> -->
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! GrampsK 12/5/11 11:03 AM
The thumbnails should display like they do in a regular google search where the text snippet wraps around the images and they are small.
The results look ugly when images push the text completely to the right of them as not all results contain images so they are more difficult to scan.
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! davidtg11 12/10/11 4:15 PM
I'm still a bit new to CSE and certainly have come on board at the right time given all the new features that seem to have been made available in the past 6 months.

One thing I'm seeing with the thumbnails used with our results is that only about 50% of the time is the correct one being selected. I've begun to look through the <PageMap> code but (and hopefully a fair question to ask) why isn't Search/CSE supporting the same <meta itemprop="image"> code specified by Google+ for thumbnail images?

I guess I can understand that the thumbnails in the search results pre-dates Google+ but I'm now needing to have header support for <meta property="og:image"> for Facebook,<meta itemprop="image"> for Google+ and now perhaps this <PageMap> <DataObject type="thumbnail"> for search thumbnails.
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! hxu-cse 12/12/11 5:17 PM
We recognize <meta property="og:image"> when deciding the best thumbnail to show for a page, so you don't have to implement another PageMap markup for automatic thumbnails.   Could you provide me several example urls if you think that doesn't work as expected?
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! davidtg11 12/12/11 7:38 PM
Thanks for the response and info. The site url is and if you do a CSE search at the site for "Girls Generation" only the top result currently shows a thumbnail. Though doing a search for "hi-fi camp" gives the correct thumbnails on most all results.

We have had the <meta property="og:image"> set on our pages for a Facebook 'like' click and our automatic posting to the site's FB page. The correct image doesn't show on FB only rarely. So if Search was using this consistently then I'd think we'd only be missing thumbnails on just a few results.

Just yesterday (12/11) I did go ahead and add the <meta name="thumbnail" content=...> to our header which is also stated in the CSE docs as being recognized by search for thumbnails.

One thing that seems to have changed already when doing test searches is that previously results that returned just the home page url and not a specific post I would see some random image from the home page as the thumbnail image for the result. Now that result is returning our logo image which as always been set with the <meta property="og:image"> and now also set by the <meta name="thumbnail"...>. Maybe I'm reading too much into that but it seems improved with this change.

I'm sure for our niche site it will take a few days or more as the bot walks the pages again to see if other posts get the proper thumbnail set now or not. David.
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! vcjb 12/13/11 11:55 AM
I like this feature, but can you expand on how Google determines the "representative" image on a page? What are the criteria? We have a staff page and it seems to be randomly pulling one staff member (halfway down the page) as the "representative" image. Is there a way we can identify the representative image for the page?
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! hxu-cse 12/13/11 12:57 PM
You can always mark up the thumbnail image you want to display for certain pages (and let Google Custom Search handle the rest):
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! vcjb 12/13/11 1:29 PM
Thanks. It's hard for us to do that since we use a templated content management system. Do you know how the representative image is determined? Is there anything we can do to make a certain image become the "chosen one"??
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! animode 12/28/11 10:26 PM
Hi I just implemented the custom search on my website: 
The search works just fine but I do not see the thumbnails in any search. For example: Type pampers active baby or new baby and you get a list of results but not the thumbnails, though each of those pages has a picture for the product.
Is there any way to get it to work? Help Appreciated!
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! psj55dis 1/7/12 9:57 AM
Im paul jensen I need help addding my pages to my engine they just dont appear tell me why and how to fix
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! davidtg11 1/8/12 10:13 AM
Following up to what I'd stated earilier in this thread regarding getting the thumbnails to show up in Google Custom Search, After I added the <meta name="thumbnail" content={url to thumbnail}> to my site header I'm getting nearly 100% correct thumbnails on every search hit.  You'll need your own code to generate the url to the thumbnail image.

Without adding this meta tag I was seeing only about 30-60% correct thumbnails or no thumbnail used.

This is documented here in the CSE docs:
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! kingscourt 1/11/12 11:52 AM
Hi, Im not sure if Im on the right path but I was wondering If anyone can help me on google maps. We have a motel in Wanganui NZ and when I google map our hotel it shows but I noticed others in the area are mapped with their name and bed on the map and was wondering how to get this for ourselves because unless people search for us in particular we dont show and would like to be on the map incase people just search the area. Thanks very much.
(unknown) 5/5/12 3:42 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! pradeepkhtana 5/12/12 8:05 PM
Why my Website Search Rank is Down in Google search engine ?

Hello sir ,

 I Work very Hard Everyday on my website . I Not Use Any copy content in my website . I make own content on my website . but google search is not give me my work profit .

sir my Website is :- .  on this website all content are own content . but my website rank is down every day .

Sir Please help me .
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! pradeepkhtana 5/12/12 8:57 PM
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! dserodio 6/12/12 12:07 PM
Is there a size limit for the "og:image" that you'll use? I have some pages with "og:image" that are not being used, while others are...

Thanks in advance,
Daniel Serodio
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! user Admin help 12/11/12 4:28 AM
Re: Automatic thumbnails - no work required! ballr 12/9/13 12:40 PM
The custom search on my site doesn't have images for each result listed even after I added MicroData tags to the HTML. Each product detail information is added to the site using our content management system and the product detail page is generated dynamically.

If you use our CSE and search for 'vaccine' you get this result (see the attachment),

I did an "Index Now" through our CSE dashboard and waited a couple days to check the search results, but nothing has changed.

Am I missing something? Is there formatting issues with the MicroData that I implemented?

I'm at a loss here!!!


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