I came across this online query: This person was asking for an expert advice. The person uploaded a picture for search, and then she got a link. On visiting the link she could see a thumbnail-sized version of her uploaded image, and on right-clicking that link, the URL was available on going to the properties of the thumbnail.

So my question is, only Google and that person have the link and the URL to that image, right?

If the image or URL is not uploaded or shared anywhere else, then there is no interference from any third person or third party, i.e., only Google and the person has access to the image?

And I also wanted to ask, like there are pretty much very good hackers out there, so even if Google is not giving the link or URL to anyone, then also someone could hack it if they guess the URL or something like that?

  • To scared to try. So can you help me?
    – Martin
    Aug 7 '17 at 3:19
  • Also like people are saying that its not safe, but I also read a forum in which an employee from google told us that, your query information is very much safe with google, it is treated as confidential data.
    – Martin
    Aug 7 '17 at 3:25

I uploaded an image to Google reverse image search, and then obtained the image URL. I then opened up an incognito browser and pasted in "https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/SI7DEIZ0e40M3IUsNCHcMjpjhesENK1T-UNjVQzjdlhLvWVf_i8-Rg7kpvT8n9Il5Z08GIc=s85", which opens up the thumbnail. This seems to prove that anyone can access an uploaded photo provided they have the link. Removing the "=85" makes it full resolution instead of the thumbnail.

I then searched for "site:https://lh3.googleusercontent.com", and it brought up few results. I clicked "repeat the search with the omitted results included", and it suddenly brought up many links to images which I assume could be from reverse image search. However, they have naming conventions, which my thumbnail did not. Perhaps the thumbnail is a temporary file in this case, and will be deleted eventually anyway. This is supported by the fact that there is only 1 result in the last month, and 6 in the last year.

My final conclusion is that, if I can't get to the image hosted by Google through Google's own search, then it should be impossible by any other search engine. Therefore, you should only be able to access it through the link. An exception to this may be posting the links to it online, where web crawlers will begin to archive it. And maybe packet sniffers / extensions that read your history. Avoid these and you should be 100% safe by my understanding.

  • The ...googleusercontent.com domains are used for lots of different things at Google (en.wiki-domains.net/wiki/…), so I doubt you have found images from reverse search. Aug 8 '17 at 10:55
  • @VidarS.Ramdal That is what my final conclusion comes to :)
    – LloydTao
    Aug 8 '17 at 11:17

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