Google updates image search to be faster, more reliable

Cutting down on clicks needed in an image search, the Web giant enhances Google Images to let users "quickly flip through a set of images."

Google Images enhances its search function. Google

Google announced today that it is revamping its image search to make it speedier and more reliable. Soon, people will be able to simultaneously see images and image information while searching for photos, illustrations, and graphics.

"Based on feedback from both users and webmasters, we redesigned Google Images to provide a better search experience," Google Images Associate Product Manager Hongyi Li wrote in a blog post today. "In the next few days, you'll see image results displayed in an inline panel so it's faster, more beautiful, and more reliable."

When users look up images currently, they see large thumbnail images for whatever they are searching. For example, the "Pacific Ocean" brings up images of maps, photos of sandy islands covered in palm trees, and pictures of waves crashing on rocks. If the user wants to know more about the image, they have to hover their mouse over it and then click to get more.

With Google's enhanced image search, people will be able to see a display of smaller images with one central image enlarged and accompanied by image information. This should significantly cut down on the hovering and clicking.

Here are some of the changes explained by Li:

  • We now display detailed information about the image (the metadata) right underneath the image in the search results, instead of redirecting users to a separate landing page.
  • We're featuring some key information much more prominently next to the image: the title of the page hosting the image, the domain name it comes from, and the image size.
  • The domain name is now clickable, and we also added a new button to visit the page the image is hosted on.
  • The source page will no longer load up in an iframe in the background of the image detail view. This speeds up the experience for users, reduces the load on the source website's servers, and improves the accuracy of webmaster metrics such as pageviews.

"You will be able to quickly flip through a set of images by using the keyboard," Li wrote. "If you want to go back to browsing other search results, just scroll down and pick up right where you left off."

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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