Google Image Search Gets An Upgrade
January 24, 2013

Google Image Search Gets Faster, Smarter And Easier To Use

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Yesterday, Google announced some minor yet not entirely unimportant changes to the way they display images in their Image Search engine. In the coming days, Google Image searchers will be able to see more images, get more information, and do it all with fewer clicks.

In the future when Google displays images, they'll display the information along with the photo as well as listing other image results in the search along the top of the screen. According to Google Images Associate Product Manager Hongyi Li, these changes will not only improve the experience when searching for images but will also make the entire system more reliable — good news for web masters.

"Based on feedback from both users and webmasters, we redesigned Google Images to provide a better search experience," wrote Li in a blog post yesterday.

"In the next few days, you´ll see image results displayed in an inline panel so it´s faster, more beautiful, and more reliable. You will be able to quickly flip through a set of images by using the keyboard. If you want to go back to browsing other search results, just scroll down and pick up right where you left off."

As it currently stands, when searching for images on a desktop or laptop computer, users must hover over the image result and click in order to get info such as file size and the location of the image. According to Li's blog post, however, the newly updated Google image search will display one large picture in the center with its metadata displayed just to the right. Other images from the same search will be displayed in smaller pictures as streamers above the larger image in a header/footer fashion. Searchers can click on any of these smaller images to bring up the larger picture. These changes will result in fewer clicks and an overall speedier search for the user.

According to Li, these changes are also good for webmasters. For one thing, the metadata will be listed with the image, saving the user a click to end up on a different landing page. Secondly, this new search will place "key information" right next to the image, such as the name of the image, its size and where it is hosted.

The domain name will also be clickable in this information, and Google will be adding an extra button to send users directly to the appropriate page. According to Li: "This means that there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two. In our tests, we´ve seen a net increase in the average click-through rate to the hosting website."

Finally, The image results will no longer be loaded in an iframe in the background, a move that Li says will speed up navigation for searchers as well as reduce the load on the site's servers.

All told, these changes should make an already simple process even simpler. Google search and image search are already the most popular way to navigate through the Internet, so any improvement is a welcome one.