So +Google+ does something gross with the preview thumbnails

So +Google+ does something gross with the preview thumbnails.  This is a Desktop Screenshot of my original photo open (the large one in back) and the same file shown in thumbnail preview once uploaded to Google+

Let me be clear, I do not have Auto Enhance checked.

I was going to share my photo, but now.  Ew.  Google is making it gross.  No thanks Google, I don't want you taking my artwork or photos and screwing with the color values against my wishes.

(This is a screenshot from my calibrated 30" Dell monitor – one of the finest out there for color perfection.)

So +Google+ does something gross with the preview thumbnails.  This is a Desktop Screenshot of my original photo open (the large one in back) and the same file shown in thumbnail preview once uploaded to Google+

Let me be clear, I do not have Auto Enhance checked.

I was going to share my photo, but now.  Ew.  Google is making it gross.  No thanks Google, I don’t want you taking my artwork or photos and screwing with the color values against my wishes.

(This is a screenshot from my calibrated 30″ Dell monitor – one of the finest out there for color perfection.)

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35 thoughts on “So +Google+ does something gross with the preview thumbnails

  1. I think we're seeing compression effects in the thumbnail; at least that stands to reason. A little more info would be helpful. Assuming the larger shot on your screen is a JPEG, what are some of the essential EXIF data about it? And if you look at the properties on the thumbnail, what do they reveal? How do histograms of both compare? If you open the shot in G+ from the thumbnail, is it essentially the same as the master copy you uploaded? If not, how do that one compare with the master (EXIF, histogram)?

  2. Thanks for the informative heads-up.  At least I'll know to for sure click through on pictures that I find interesting.     Such a shame, though, if that's what is happening.

    As an aside, I hate buying monitors.  I never seem to get one that looks "right"… and with all the funky lighting in the big box stores it's hard to tell.

    I'm not a serious photographer nor a graphics artist but I can be a bit anal if things don't look "right".  (or sound "right", for that matter)

  3. I was about to rant about Picasa/Google and "albums" and limitations. It's great as long you stay within 2048×2048 at max, so I use it for screenshots. For storing proper photos in organized albums it's lacking unfortunately. +David Collantes might have to tell some stories about that.

    I am still looking for a good service to store large photos. I don't want photos from grandma's golden wedding or so claim enough space to fill 2 large HDDs (one for backup), when it is online and gone I can blame it on Google or whatever company runs the service. ;)

  4. +Jennifer Bailey I did a bit more digging. Apparently the images both in the stream and in the lightbox on Chrome should support ICC (version 2 anyway). Just in case, you should save your photos with an embedded sRGB profile (which is what all browsers should default to if they cant read an ICC profile).

    I'm starting to think perhaps it's not an ICC issue but rather a monitor profile issue. Do you have yours software calibrated? There is a way to turn on support for monitor profiles in Chrome, but apparently every few updates it resets. Try this though if you get a chance:

    > Edit the shortcut to Chrome.
    > Add the following to the end of the 'target' field:


    > The full line should then read something like "C:UsersNameAppDataLocalGoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe –enable-monitor-profile"
    > Save and use that shortcut to open Chrome

    See if that makes a difference?

  5. ….. and LOL, I just compared the cover of my printed "Way of Kings" copy and some oversaturated and by far too blue online images of the cover. Looks so much like your cloud photo before and after "Google".

  6. +Joe Lancaster you should give a word of warning, last time I fiddled around with my color profiles in windows and browers etc. I lost an entire weekend to it!!! :)

    (this stuff just drives me crazy!)

    edit: But I am not sure if this is the issue…no idea why the images look so differently, it looks indeed like two different profiles.

  7. It's not my monitor, as the image, when clicked on, looks normal.  It's just the downsized preview thumbnail that Google changes.  But it's so ghastly I don't even want to upload anything anymore.

  8. +Jennifer Bailey I noticed something weird when  I was posting some stuff I had done for a spooky game (where there were a lot of subtle darks).  My thumbnails seem to be much darker (as in the color profile isn't being read, like when I post on Facebook), and if I look at this image and zoom in to full size my screen suddenly shifts and I see lots of subtle darks.  I don't use auto-enhance either. 

    I'll post the link to the post down here, so I don't look like I'm trying to promote myself:  If you zoom in on this image do subtle colors in the darker value range become more noticeable? :

    It doesn't seem to happen if my images can't be zoomed in on, but I can't confirm (like if their posted size is below zoom-able dimensions on my monitor- which I guess makes sense with pixel compression).
    EDIT:  NOT TRUE, actually- this one is VERY dark on my monitor in the thumbnail, but only in stream view.  This is very strange:

  9. Thanks for the report +Jennifer Bailey.  What you are seeing isn't the image itself being adjusted but is a result of color management and having a managed display.  We don't embed ICC profiles for small thumbnails because of the size of the profile.  Most web browsers, in the absence of an ICC profile don't do any color management (i.e. they send the pixel values directly to the display).  So if you have a calibrated display (especially a wide gamut one) these images look different than one with the ICC profile embedded.

    Since most people don't have calibrated displays and few have wide gamut displays, your audience won't have this issue.  

    We are investigating how we can solve this problem, however.

  10. So basically the previews are going to be gross no matter what and there is basically nothing we can do about it.  

    I've come across this problem on art websites, the very same issue in fact.  Though they always end up doing something on their end to fix it.  CGsociety doesn't have this problem and CGhub (rest in peace) didn't either.  Smugmug doesn't have this problem.  Flickr doesn't – hell, even Twitter doesn't.  I guess Google will figure it out eventually! :)

  11. I have seen it for a while now.  I always assumed it was the way for google to use their awesome features.  Even the black and white work I post now comes off flat.  

  12. +Jennifer Bailey no it's only going to look unusual to a small number of people running a monitor profile, like people with software calibrated monitors. That's what Aravind is suggesting anyway. Like I said in my earlier (long) comment, it seems to be an issue with chrome ignoring monitor profiles, which are needed to display a picture 'correctly' on systems running software calibration (like yours it seems).

  13. Yes it's going to look like that saturated nonsense to everyone else but people with calibrated monitors will be able to discern the difference while everyone else won't and will just see the saturated un profiled crap.

    It isn't saturated because of a properly calibrated monitor. It's fucked up because chrome can't read the calibration and show it how it's meant to be shown and so is compressed and uglified.

    The large photo in the back of the screenshot is proper color. That's all that should ever be shown.

  14. Yes that's basically right, but we're just explaining the reason it looks oversaturated on your g+ stream (which is not taking into account your monitor calibration) compared to when you open it in software that reads your monitor calibration and adjusts for it (like your large preview on the left) is because you're using monitor calibration, so most people will not see a difference between what it looks like opened in windows image preview and in the g+ stream. This is at least a good thing knowing it's a pretty limited issue. :)

    Like I said earlier, try adding the –enable-monitor-profile to your Chrome and see if it fixes it.

  15. The bottom line is, that horrible thumbnail image Chrome is showing, that is what "the world" aka most people are actually getting.

    I had an extreme blue color tint Samsung laptop screen for years, a Samsung TV with the same love for blue and an AMOLED on my old S3 display some people turned to the "DYNAMIC" setting by default. So much that I intentionally put a colder color temperature on my laptop to somewhat match my office/work screen, I am just not used to "warm" aka normal screens anymore!

    Sandstone, marble and skin color in "The Borgias" by Showtime, an extremely visually impressive TV series look a world different on my LOEWE TV than on my Samsung. And to imagine some people turn on the "dynamic" option…. aaah, the pain! It basically makes red gouge out your eyes.

    My other beef is with laptop screens. 74% and 98.5% RGB color gamut are a major difference yet the only thing that counts for all companies but Apple who use quality screens all the time is that 1. the panel is available 2. it fits into the screen and 3. uses a fitting connector.

    I now have a 120 Hz wide gamut screen from AOG, manufactured some 6 or 7 years ago. Yes, it's that old. The more recent models cost the very same, there is no difference in price. They are just not as good, less contrast and only 70% standard RGB coverage. 74% RGB specturm coverage on 900:1 contrast gets praised as "great" by the testers of laptops in general, the usual ChiMei screen stuff. On my G750 laptop from ASUS you get the luck of the draw from 7-9 different types of panels. This is also usually forgotten when laptops are tested. ASUS discontinued the great looking 3D/120Hz screens of the earlier series for the later G-series laptops, but funnily those are still often used for advertising purposes.

    A non-calibrated/Windows calibrated screen with blueish tint, that is what most people are staring at right now while reading this posting.

    It's disturbing for a photopgrapher to know that what you see and what most people will get to see is quite different. And what Chrome does to Jennifer's image in the thumbnail is actually quite minor in comparison to what really happens to the image on most screens. The unit for the pain this causes the photographer is called JBT (Jennifer Bailey's Torment) and it has a scale from 1-100, with values greater 10 causing a Google+ posting, 20 extreme disorientation and squinting, 30 the assumption of a defective monitor and above 40 the nervus opticus is about to take permanent damage, the after image will haunt the photographer for days, even in his/her dreams.

  16. +Michael Birke all correct except for the first line. It's only Jennifer who is getting the images as shown in the thumbnail in her screenshot (comparatively speaking against the bigger image). Most other people will not get an increased saturation or otherwise altered image from the full size version if they were to open them side by side.

    The problem is only ever going to show up on a machine running monitor calibration software, so it should be fine for the end user most of the time.

    Of course, the end user 90% of the time will have shitty uncalibrated monitors, but there's nothing we can ever do about that. I've run into that issue constantly for the last 10 years, clients will love what they see while I'm doing the work, and then no matter how much disclaimer I throw in or try to explain, they will take it back home and then complain or query about it looking different. "How can we check what it will look like for people watching it on TV?" Etc. The answer is always "We can't, it will always look different for different screens."

    Hell, I run 3 professionally calibrated colour grading screens at work (totalling about $20k value) plus a computer monitor, and they all still look different. Not wildly, but there are differences in what each technology is going to look like even after calibration.

    Unfortunately the only thing we can do on our end is open up the image (or video) on a couple of different 'standard', 'uncalibrated' monitors, to get an idea of how many people might see it, so we know what we're seeing on our good monitors is not to far off.

  17. This is a great quote with regards to making sure you embed an ICC profile (though, of course, the fact that 99% of people can't read it is really the issue) salient point highlited in bold.

    "There are some cases where you can argue for not including a profile—say you value saturation over  appearance. You might want a logo with 100% cyan, or 50% yellow objects to never be converted—you simply want to print the brightest cyan possible whether it's on newsprint or gloss coat. In that case not including profiles make output conversions less likely, but it doesn't stop someone from forcing one down stream."

    I read a cool thing about it here:
    Of course that's Java and who knows what Google is using.

    +Joe Lancaster Most people are going to see the un-ICC Profile image, which is saturated.

  18. +Jennifer Bailey I think you're still misunderstanding what Aravind and I are saying – it's not just an ICC issue. It's only when combined with a monitor profile that it's an issue. Since most people don't have a colour managed display, they won't have this issue. In other words, don't worry too much, it's really only going to be an issue on yours (and others with colour managed monitors) machines.

  19. Your monitor profile is just for that: the monitor. When you view any of the three main types of color spaces used today it takes a known standard (aRGB for example) and tweaks it so it looks right on your monitor via the profile that you made and set your monitor to. When you send the same file to a friend, if she has a color managed application such as Lightroom or Photoshop, it should look right on her monitor, as long as it's properly calibrated

    That's all I'm saying. 

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