By Jennifer Farley

Google Launches A “Nicer” New Image Search

By Jennifer Farley

Google announced today on the official company blog that some major changes have been implemented in Google’s Image Search. Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search, told the BBC that more than a billion image searches are now carried out each day on the site. That’s a lot of searching and the latest improvements are designed to make searching for images quicker and easier.

These changes include:

  • When a user clicks on a thumbnail they are taken to a landing page showing the large image in context. Once the use clicks outside the image they’re brought straight back to the original page.
  • Live enlargement of images as users roll their mouse over the thumbnails. The hover pane which appears gives a large preview and more information about the image and “similar images”.
  • A denser layout of images for easier viewing of many images at once.
  • Better navigation. Optimized keyboard navigation (Page Up / Page Down) for scrolling quickly through pages of images.
  • Instant scrolling between pages will allow users to get up to 1000 images in one scrolling page.
  • Other, not so exciting changes for the average image searcher will be the inclusion of thumbnail picture advertisements in Image Search. Google Image’s product manager Nate Smith said “for our advertisers, we’re launching a new ad format called Image Search Ads. These ads appear only on Google Images, and they let you include a thumbnail image alongside your lines of text”.


    The upgrades to Image Search will kick in worldwide over the next few days. (Note at the time of writing, the changes weren’t visible from Ireland, hence the use of the official Google Blog image)

    Read more on the Google Blog and on the BBC.

    Have you used the new Image Search yet? Do you like the changes?

    • I love it. I love the infinite scroll and that most useless details were left out (except the size, which can be optionally shown at a corner of the image) to give more room for images. Efficient.

    • I just checked my local and there’s no change, then I checked as well and the old image search is still there too.

      I’ll just have to wait for the roll-out I guess.

    • .. and so it begins, google starts applying the javascripted ajax bull they’ve been using everywhere else to their search… Lands sake did NOBODY learn the lesson of “ASK”?

      First bullet point sounds like lightbox – I HATE lightbox, every time I come across it I scream “Oh for **** sake just let me open the damned image!”

      Next one sounds like either a waste of bandwidth from precaching, or a waste of time waiting for ajax to load the hover state in the background — or a waste of time sending thumbnails larger than needed… Key phrase here?

      Then of course there’s the “denser layout” — apparently from the screenshot removing information I usually care about before I go after the image like file size and dimensions… Of course that will probably be a tooltip hover state wasting my time moving the mouse over every blasted thumbnail instead of being able to see it at a glance.

      Keyboard navigation — making it not behave like normal pages thanks to it’s ajax bullshit. GREAT.

      Willing to bet this new navigation probably breaks the forward/back buttons in the process, as well as probably direct linking a results page, flip navigation and of course middle-clicking. Why not, it’s what the ajax for nothing crap did to all the webmail services.

      … and the final one, THOUSANDS? Do I even want to THINK about how long that’s going to take to load at 250-300ms real-world per file request?

      We’ll wait and see, but really this does NOT bode well in my mind…

    • Wardrop

      Finally, they’ve stopped using frames.

    • Stormwatch

      Are they insane? This new design is atrocious. At one fell swoop, Google made a great tool slower, uglier, and harder to use!

    • Anonymously Name

      Straight piece of shit..

      I used to filter some images through the URL’s and now there’s no URL so we’re clicking on a blind link.. Which will end up leading to malware stuff and others..

      Once again.. Google, stop doing shit because you’re getting load of $$$.
      Go invent something instead of changing what’s already good enough.

    • Anil

      Looks really cool. It would be great if Google applies similar kind of stuff for showing web results

    • Kirst_85

      I have used the new image search in South Africa. The only thing I like about this is the “Instant scrolling between pages will allow users to get up to 1000 images in one scrolling page.” The rest of it I hate. The images all crammed so close together looks really messy and is distracting. The landing page and rollover enlargement are also irritating as hell. I wish I could have the old layout with more scrolling but thats about it.

    • Doug

      I cannot stand this – you can’t get information about the images unless you hover over each and every one. How is that helpful?

    • WFTAge

      Yes, Google New Tech For Showing Images in july 2010.
      Nice Tech

    • David

      visit to sign a petition against this new image search interface.

    • Patrick

      Hate it. Google needs to learn the old saw, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Also the inverse; if it is broke, -do- fix it… for instance, lat/long haven’t displayed properly on Google Maps for several years now.

    • Monica

      Absolutely loathe it. When I got the new image view at work, I thought – hoped – it was just a quirk and not a major change.

      No easy view of image size, no easy way to see the url/source (particularly important with so many suspect sites!), no easy text referencing. If I had time to hover and click for more info, I’d use the web search for images, not the image search.

      And waaaay too many images on one page.

      Absolutely hate it.

      Why oh why doing I.T. people insist on fixing things that are not broken?

    • I like it.

    • Astrolounge

      I despise it. It doesn’t tell you what site an image is from unless you mouse over it, and then you have to wait a second for it to pop up. It’s not a long wait, but it’s an unnecessary wait. It’s savagely inefficient, and I can’t stand it. They should put it back, or at least include an option to revert it to it’s old layout.

    • Joel Walker

      I like it. A lightbox is a big improvement over frames.

    • wtf

      i hate it

    • TAd

      I do not care for lightbox, perhaps that is why I cant stand the new search.

      Lightbox, like other “fad” tools, is WAY overused.

    • Simon

      I have been using it since they implemented the new layout and I find the interface cumbersome. If your mouse isn’t off the side of the main image pane the thumbnails keep zooming in, distracting me and covering up other thumbnails. All the details are hidden until you mouse over the item. When you do click on a thumbnail, the pic floating over the host page would be an improvement on the original design but it seems to be sized randomly, particularly if it is a large image, and sometimes the pic displayed winds up smaller than it’s thumbnail. On the sites that have security measures in place to stop remote links the service doesn’t work at all. All in all, I don’t know how you screw up a number 1 rated service so badly.

    • Anonymous

      it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks how do i get the old version back?

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