Friday, January 20, 2006 at 10:40 AMBy Denise Gamboa, Product Marketing Manager
Since launch, people have found creative ways to use Google Base to their advantage, whether for personal or business use. Some of you have even written to let us know about your experience. Here is David Sanger's story about how Google Base has helped his stock photography business.
Photograph (c) David Sanger Photography
"My business as a stock photographer involves the licensing of images and selling fine art prints to business and personal users.
Since our website already has a searchable database of images with extensive keywording, buyers can search the site for images under any combination of keywords like "Golden Gate Bridge" or "South Africa wines" or "romantic tropical beach". Each image has a dedicated page with a unique URL where a buyer can license the image or order a fine art print from our specialty printer, Pictopia.
What was missing was a place for the general public to easily conduct such a search, and Google Base provided the perfect solution. Buyers can search for golden gate bridge fine art prints or south africa pictures or romantic tropical beach prints and order their prints directly.
The master database is kept in Filemaker Pro and we already had an extract to upload to MYSQL on our web host. Google Base offers the option to bulk upload a file as a tab-delimited text file or in various XML formats. We chose to use the text file. With Filemaker it was easy to define additional fields to create an extract file with the image URL, a link to the image thumbnail, descriptive info including keywords, and some custom attributes. Setting up the FTP access went quickly and within a few hours the records were uploaded. It still took several days to work out details, making changes along the way. One of the best points about Google Base is that you can re-upload whenever you want, to add new images and correct or adjust keywords.
For a small stock photography business the most difficult task is to get visibility for individual offerings. We already use Google Sitemaps and Google Images to gain visibility but there's currently no option for adding descriptive, searchable metadata. Google Base offers the flexibility and quick turnaround we need to post new material and to change product details. The custom attributes will allow us to fine tune the offering over time.
In terms of results, our recent Christmas print sales were the best ever. Recent sales through Google, Froogle and Google Base include a BMW dealer looking for large photo murals of Oktoberfest and a Hollywood film studio looking for a Prague street scene.
As a Board member of Stock Artists Alliance, the professional association for stock photographers, I am also keenly aware of the need for new ways for individual photographers to offer their images to the market. Google Base certainly has the potential to empower small stock photo businesses to reach out to buyers worldwide."