Google Image Swirl shows relevant groups of images

Google Labs launches a new product called Image Swirl that groups similar, relevant images together and allows the user to explore them.

Google Labs is testing a new way of viewing images that it is calling Image Swirl. When you search for a term in Image Swirl, 12 different sets of related images appear.

For example, if you search for "Kentucky," you will get sets of Kentucky state maps, Kentucky flags, the Kentucky Derby, and various scenery of the state. As you drill down further into the results, you get to see more tightly refined sets of images based on what you choose.

A search for Paris' Arc de Triomphe on Google Image Swirl. Screenshot by Harrison Hoffman/CNET

Image Swirl's interface is very similar to Google's Wonder Wheel. It also employs Google's previously developed technology for finding similar images as well as facial recognition. This is definitely a smarter image search than what we are used to.

Unfortunately, Image Swirl is not available for all search terms currently. It is reserved for 200,000 terms (which auto-complete in the search box) that Google has deemed worthy of being included. The company did say, however, that it plans to add more queries to the list moving forward.

So what do you think? Is Image Swirl cool? Lame? Important? Irrelevant? Let us know in the comments.

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