Google announced today it's rolling out a brand new Google Images site that will take much of the hassle out of searching for, browsing and filtering images. The company says it will also begin selling ads (with images, not just text) around the search results.
Google Images site, which will be available to everyone by the end of the week, will give you more to look at when you do a search. As many as 1,000 image results can be displayed on a single, scrollable search results page. The images are also grouped more closely together. (Click image at left for full-sized view of the results page). When you mouse over a specific image, the image explodes out to a larger size, and information about the image (like where it was found on the web) is displayed below it. This gives you a good look at an image, without the usual hassle of clicking on it, going to a new page with a frame at the top, inspecting the image, then clicking back to the search results to repeat the process with the next image.The new
Dragging your mouse over the image results allows you to browse all the images quickly, although there's still no slideshow feature where you can view the full-sized images one after the other.
After you click on an image, your taken directly to the web page where the image lives, not to a landing page at Google Images--no more annoying landing page with the frame at the top. At the destination page, the image is overlayed on its host page in full size. To see the image in the context of its home page, you just click the site showing behind the image and the overlay image disappears. To return to the search results on Google Images you hit the back button on your browser.
So why the sudden changes to Google Images now, after haveing existed in pretty much the same form since it launched in 2001? Two things.
Bing. With a billion page views a day at stake, Google is feeling competitive pressure from it rival search engine, Microsoft's Bing, which has featured a superior image search functionality since its launch in May 2009. In fact, Google's new design seems to have borrowed some good ideas from Bing's "Visual Search" feature (launched last September) especially on the scrollable search results page. Google has taken the concept one step further than Bing, however: When you hover over an image in Bing's search results page, a box containing information about the image pops up, while Google gives you the same data attached to a large preview image.
Also, when you click a search result in Bing, you're taken to a landing page at Bing where you must click a link to go the image's home page. In Google Images, you are taken directly to the target image's home page when you click on it in the search results page.
Ads. Google also announced today that it will be placing image ads above the new image search results page. (Click thumbnail image at left for a full-size look at the ads.) For instance, you may see an image ad for Nike above the image results for a search for "running shoes." The new image-based ads, for which advertisers will pay more than text-based ads, will likely begin spreading to other Google properties where text-based ads appear now.
Google says the new and improved Google Images will run nicely on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE 7 and 8 browsers. The new functionality is also available on iPhone and Android mobile browsers.
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