Is it possible to track the IP-addresses of users on Google Images viewing my photos (even though they don’t leave Google)?

Since all content on Google Images is actually hot-linked, it should be possible to see the original IP of the Google user in the server logs, right? Even though one is not actually visiting my website? Or is Google protecting/hiding this information?

  • Are you sure Google is hot linking the images? This seems incorrect to me. If Google is indeed hot linking the images then yes, your web server would see the IP of the client. Once a client is connecting to your server you can take some steps to identify/track them - including setting cookies - even for an image.
    – davidgo
    Aug 18 at 19:57
  • 2
    @davidgo If you inspect element on a google images page, you can see that they hotlink the large version of the image that they show to you on the right hand panel after you click on the thumbnail. Aug 29 at 22:10
  • @MaximillianLaumeister TIL...
    – davidgo
    Aug 29 at 22:15

The thumbnail versions of images are cached on google's servers, but as soon as the user clicks on one of the image thumbnails to expand the image in image search, their browser will load the full version of the image which is hotlinked.

Because the full images are hotlinked like this, you are indeed able to track these hits in your server logs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.