This update added many new features that make Image Search quicker and easier to use. Some of the new features are obvious, but some are a bit under-the-hood, so you may not realize that they’re there unless you go looking.
Improved Tile Interface
The first new feature you’ll notice when you use Google Image Search is that revamped tile layout that is used to display images. Previously images were displayed with their file name, image size and other information listed below each image. That information has now been moved and instead appears when you hover your mouse cursor over an image.
In addition to the tile layout, the interface has also been improved by adding an “instant scroll” feature. In the old Image Search you had to view images page by page, but now you can simply scroll through a huge number of them at a time. If you want even more images to appear you can simply click the “Show More” button. More images will load on the same page.
Better Image View Pane
One of the most annoying traits of the old image search was that clicking on an image did not take you directly to it. Instead a framed window opened with the image in thumbnail at the top and the webpage the image was on at the bottom. To open the full size image you had to click the thumbnail again.
Not anymore! Clicking on a thumbnail now loads a full size version of the photo instantly in the foreground. The webpage the photo is located on is in the background, fully visible but grayed out. If you want to view the full webpage you can simply click on the X to close the image.
Information about the image, including website name, resolution and file size is available on the right side of the browser. Also, if the image has a very high resolution it won’t be displayed at full size automatically. To display it at full size you’ll need to click the “Full-size image” link.
Better Keyboard Integration
The new features of Image Search are a mouse cursor’s best friend. The larger tile layout, with bigger thumbnails and clearer links, makes navigating with a mouse much easier than ever before.
However, the old-fashioned keyboard has not been forgotten, and Image Search now makes use of the Page Up/Page Down keys. Try it. You’ll find that moving through Image Search with your keyboard can now be every bit as accurate as using your mouse.
New Search Methods
Not all of the improvements to Image Search focus on the interface. Google also has made changes to how you can search for images, and the changes are actually quite fantastic. For example, you can now search for individual images based on color. Let’s say you want to find red bicycles. On the left side of Image Search there is a color palette. If you select red and then search for bicycles you will only receive images of red bicycles.
There are twelve colors available that you can currently search for, and you can also search exclusively for images that are full color or in black and white. Other search functions, like the ability to search only for faces, photos, clip art or line drawings, remain.
These new Google Image Search features are long overdue, but now that they’re here the service is quicker, easier to use, and more powerful. Image Search was beginning to look a bit out of date compared to its competitors, but not anymore. These new features work only on Chrome, Safari, Firefox 3.x, and Internet Explorer 7/8, so if you have an older web browser this is another good reason to upgrade.
Which part of the new Image Search do you like the best?