Google Images Improves Its Image

By  |  Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 11:31 am

At a press event at its San Francisco offices this morning, Google unveiled a new version of Google Images, with the biggest revision the company has given the image search engine’s interface in a very long time. (Google Images launched in 2001 with an index of 250 million images; today it’s got 10 billion of ’em.)

The new look is a lot more modern and, well…visual than the old one. Here are the highlights:

Bigger pictures, fewer words. Results pages are now all about the images–the thumbnails are bigger, and most of the textual information–such as the link to similar images–isn’t there. (If you hover over an image, you get the information which formerly appeared on the standard results page.)

A new preview page. You can now preview both the image at full size and the page it came from without leaving Google Image Search, thanks to a full-size preview that appears overlaid on a cached version of the originating page.

“Infinite” scrolling. Rather than making you page through images a few at a time, you can just keep scrolling–through up to a thousand thumbnails on one page. (This matches a feature which Microsoft’s Bing Images already has.(

Here’s my shaky video of a single page of results in the new Image Search:

Image ads. Google already put ads in Images search results, but it’s now offering marketers a new ad type designed specifically for image searches. (For one thing, all ads will have images themselves.)

As before, Images packs all sorts of smarts for producing relevant images, plus filters that let you refine the results. Here are results which include only images of black horses:

At the event, Google executives stressed that the makeover was in the works for so long in part because they wanted to make it easy and fast. I’ve only used it within Google’s firewall so far, but it does feel slick and responsive–the infinite scrolling, for instance, involved less waiting for images to update than Bing’s version.

A serious comparison with the competition will I can try the publicly-available new Google Images. Shouldn’t be too long: Google says that about ten percent of users are already seeing it, and it should completely replace the old version later this week. If you already have access to it, let us know–and tell us what you think.


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22 Comments For This Post

  1. Paul Jasper Says:

    "If you hover over an image, you get the information which formerly appeared on the standard results page." So how does that work on a mobile phone?

  2. Lars Says:

    Not an improvement. It's slow and browsing images is a pain.

  3. Jim Says:


  4. bobba Says:

    so true! the first thing i do is scroll down, race all the image loading (sometimes ineffectibely) and click 'basic search' or whatever it is

  5. Susan Says:

    I have seen the new image results. Completely disappointed. Previous results are too good, displaying the image sizes and we have good results as well. and I agree with Lars…unless we have a fast internet we can't make use of Google Image search…it slows my damn system!! 🙁

  6. dholyer Says:

    I moved up to DSL 3 years ago, and only for $7 more a month. Was paying $20 a month for Dial up, Got Qwest for $27. It made a hole lot of difference. Analog (voice phone) was 22K to 43K and DSL is now 850K to 1.6Meg a second. Rush hours does slow Internet down but you never really notice on Dial up.

    And High Speed Internet connections are expected to get less costly in the future and offer faster speeds. Currently DVD's take 20 minutes to an hour, Fiber Optic may let you do it with in 10 minutes. But that is only guessed projections, I'll wait until it happens to believe it.

    As for your dial up, what screen resolution do you use, I use to set mine at 800×600 for tube screens and 1024×640 for LCD.

  7. bobab Says:

    agreed! slows down!

  8. dholyer Says:

    I discovered this yesterday (thursday) and I'm reading this on friday. It seems like a nice inprovement, but will take time to get use to it.

  9. Jim Says:

    Very disappointed, slow and cumbersome to poke through images, general pain in the ass!

  10. RSP Says:

    I absolutely detest it. A major internet utility has been Bingified. RIP Google

  11. Simon Jary Says:

    Stumbled into new Google Images and loved it straight away.
    Some people just can't stomach change, I guess.

  12. Mandriloquai Says:

    The new image manager becomes slow and eats out my resources. I am running a quad core w/4 GB ram on a 64bit OS. Up until last week google images was a blast. Now, it is very slow and usually hangs my box.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Bing's image search was the main reason I hated bing; I HATE scrolling.
    Plus, it takes forever to load, if you try to go near the end the page gets all jumpy, etc.

    To me, it isn't really that much of an improvement; much more of a nuissance.

    If google had any brains, it would've known that it would've been smart to give us the option between the new search, or the old basic one – and let it be more of a permenant decision. If you want the basic one, you need to scroll way down (which is a freaking pain, considering there's like 1000 freaking images and scrolling down gets jumpy) and like I said, you need to do this EVERY TIME! (WTF seriously? Why couldn't they just put it near the top instead the very freaking bottom? What moron thought that up? If you want basic google, you don't want to take 2 minutes scrolling down to get it.)

  14. anonymous Says:

    I'm really getting tired of google trying to be bing. Bing freaking sucks. Google is more widely used for a reason.

    Actually, I now actually prefer bing's image search, because the images aren't all stuck together like google's is now, and you don't have a picture bloomind up and covering a bunch of other pictures while accidentally mousing over it (which is easy, since they're all stuck together.)

    Screw this. Never thought I'd say this, but I'm just going to start using yahoo search engine now. I might come back if google decides to give us an option.

    Honestly; I really wouldn't be bothered if we had an option and got to choose what we prefer. I think having both, and letting people choose it as a perference, could actually be a good thing.

  15. Dixon Marshall Says:

    What is up with you folks who are sharing the hate? It works fine on my not-so-great DSL. The page looks better, it's easier to navigate, image info is available with a cursor hover–I don't understand where you folks are coming from. This is a major improvement for Google Images, and it works much better than Bing on my Internet connection.

  16. Mario Dias Says:

    My biggest problem with the new Google Images is the the preview page.
    My time is scarce, when I click on a image I want to see the image in a context, I want to read the page where the image come from right away, I don't want to have to reload the whole godamn page again.

    On the same basis, the lack of immediate information on the size and whereabouts of the image makes me lose time.
    I know I can hover the image to get those informations but reading already shown information is much faster than having to hover and than reading.

  17. Dixon Relax Says:

    Dixon, the reason why people hate this is mainly because it is slower than a snail. The new Google Images Search slows down my computer (only 2 years old) to a crawl and the browser basically hangs or freezes for a few minutes. (Firefox 3.5)

    I am sure this new version will work great for those with gaming super-computers and the latest version of Chrome. But why should Google abandon the 99% of the rest of the online community simply to compete with Bing, which isn’t that good honestly.

    But I am not that surprised. Google has been on a roll when it comes to redesigning products with the new goal of utterly failing. Just look at the changes at YouTube. Guess the same team was put in charge of the new look for Google itself.

  18. Dixon Marshall Says:

    It works fine with Chrome on my ultralight notebook and mediocre DSL, so I had to ask the question. I’m not using anything special hardware-wise. You say you are using Firefox. I don’t, because I find it agonizingly slow for anything. Maybe that is where the problem lies.

  19. Dixon Marshall Says:

    By the way, what's wrong with YouTube? I don't use it much, but when I do, I don't have a problem with it.

  20. paul Says:

    GOOGLE IMAGE SUCKS NOW!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Lhunt Says:

    Slower than MOOOlasses

  22. guest Says:

    horrible horrible horrible