Two months ago ( give or take ) Google Maps started displaying images from Web Pages as photos for local places and businesses in Google Maps. However, it seems that the understanding of certain web images and how they relate to a local business has gone horrible wrong.
It could also have wider implications.
Clicking on the Photos takes you to Photos that people have uploaded, street view and now images found on websites.
Web Site Images in Google Maps for Local Businesses
You can view the business above in Google Maps : Fontaine Industries
Image 1 and the main image that appears for the business in the knowledge card.
It is the same style as Google Images, you can visit the website where the image was located or view just the image.
And herein lies the problem.
Do NOT Visit Page … I’ll get to that in a moment.
Images Displayed are Not Related to the Business
All the images displayed are in no way related to Fontaine Industries, the Bathroom Supply Store in Hallam, VIC, Australia
The only similarity is the word Fontaine, but none of the pages contain the full business name, Fontaine Industries and none of them contain any reference to a bathroom supply store in Hallam, Australia.
In fact the majority of the pages unsurprisingly are all French, so why the disconnect, surely Google is not matching an image based on 1 single word?
NOTE: This may be isolated to Google.com.au. When viewing business in Google.co.uk the addittional images are not available.
Images Displayed are Vulnerable to Spam
Remember that 1st Image that I told you not to visit above, if you had done you would have arrived at this page which has been hacked.
So the potential is for spammers to target well known businesses with a web based image, when it gets indexed into Google Map images you then redirect the page to where you want it to go.
Some of the images that I have uploaded to local business have been viewed by thousands of people.
The traffic potential is certainly apparent with over 5 million views on my images uploaded to business. I would not be as crass as the above JP porn hack, but a targeted similarity such as clothes stores to a clothing affiliate and so on.
This has been reported to Google My Business and I will update with any shareable info.
Reporting Images in Google Maps
If you find incorrect, inappropriate or just plain spam images appearing for your business you can report the image.
In the top left box, next to the image name, you can select to report the image.
All reports go into a que but if you have not seen any action within 7 days you can reach out to direct to Business Support or the Google My Business help forum.