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June 4, 2011

More Pictures in Google Search

When you type a query that's popular in Google Image Search, Google's Web search engine shows a list of the most relevant images in an OneBox result. If you add "pictures", "images" to your query, the OneBox now includes a lot more images.

"If we detect that your query has 'high image intent' (meaning, we're pretty sure you're looking for images) we'll start showing more images on the page. If you add words like 'photos', 'pictures', and 'images' to a query, that means you're probably not looking for a blog post or video. Showing more images on the main search results page makes it just that much faster to find the image you're looking for," informs Google.

Another change is that Google will show a larger thumbnail when you mouse an image from the OneBox, just like in Google Image Search. The OneBox result now looks like the first page of images search results, but it's interesting to notice that the ranking is slightly different.


  1. No not cool, sometimes you either forget or just don't want to add picture onto your query because every so often you might need to search a specific term with "pic" or "picture" or "image" on the end of the query but you don't know which one you need so the solution to that before was to just do an image search on google for images period, now without this added term to your query the searches are limited.. this is not an upgrade this is a downgrade.. i LOVE google's services but this is very disappointing...

  2. @cpowell1687 err... you still can use the Google Image search to search for just images. This is just an additional way of searching for pictures from the Onebox

  3. Terrible. Why would someone type "pictures" or "images" in a web search? Most likely they're trying to find a gallery website, a page not owned by Google that hosts images related to a topic. This is Google's attempt to further monopolize image searching - they already present the requested image in an image search outside of the page it came from, and now people who *purposely* search for non-Google-owned galleries will be pushed to a Google image search instead. What happened to "don't be evil," guys?

  4. Probably many people search for things like [puppies pictures], [big ben photos] and expect to find some photos. The top organic search results might include some useful photos, but they can't beat an image search engine that ranks the photos from all Web pages.

    If I search for [Hungary map], a Google map or some image search results would be more useful that the top search result for that query. The main advantage is that I get an instant answer and I don't even have to select a result.

  5. "but they can't beat an image search engine that ranks the photos from all Web pages."

    I agree, which is why I do an *image* search because I trust Google Images to get me the pictures I want. Why screw with people who chose to do a *web* search and were clearly looking for independent websites? Whatever the advantage is, there are certain situations where one would want a non-Google gallery. This change just makes me scroll further down the page and can only be seen as yet another creative bit of coding to keep traffic on Google pages showing Google ads which does absolutely nothing to help users.

    Likewise, if I search for [Hungary map], I'd love a little link to a Google Maps page already centered on Hungary. But I can click a little link, or go to Google Maps myself in the first place, without Google dedicating the web search page to that useless redundancy.

  6. Specifically on [Hungary map] - If I search Google Maps for Hungary I am obviously looking for a map of Hungary provided by Google. But if I do a web search for [Hungary map], the very fact that I didn't search Google Maps means I'm probably looking for an atlas, or a Thomas guide, or even a Mapquest/Bing map. Google is forcing people to stay on its own sites, and you're stretching pretty far to invent some way that it benefits the user.

  7. The changes may not benefit publishers, but they benefit users and that should be Google's main goal. If I want to find Hungary's map, I could type in the address and search for [Hungary], I could type [Hungary] in my browser's search box and then click "Maps", but most people will just go to Google, search for [Hungary Map] and click the top result or just look at the pictures.

    Web search results are there to help you find some answers to your questions, but sometimes Google can find the answer and display it above the list of search results. Search for [Weather in Berlin], [time in Cape Town], [MSFT], [flights from Tokyo to Seoul], [Tom Cruise height], [George Michael real name], [number of hours in a year], [Chinese restaurants in Detroit] and you'll find many instant answers and specialized search results. Google's goal is not to send users to the most relevant pages, but to answer users' questions quickly. If there's no quick answer, relevant search results suffice.

  8. Makese sense. I used to have special quick ways around - before I switched to Chrome, I had Firefox keywords [g query] to search Google, [i query] to search Google Images, [m query] for maps, etc. Google's made some fabulous headway in getting information to me faster (speed was what ultimately made me a Chrome convert), but I feel every change like this changes the way I think. Google knows that most rational people, when searching for a website providing pictures of Bora Bora, would search something like [Bora Bora pictures]. They purposefully identify those queries and retrain their users to accept their own solution. Again, this new change *is* the fastest way to actually find pictures of Bora Bora when the providing site doesn't matter, but my issue is that they make it *harder* to enter a query reflecting my thought patterns before Google started mucking about with my brain. They switch things around not *because* it takes less time to do it their way, but *in order to* make it take less time to do it their way. The results get me my answers faster, but rewire my brain in a non-linear and nonsensical fashion.

  9. I don't understand the people that complain about this move. It is simple and something that should have been implemented a long time ago! It doesnt hurt publishers because Google link to the source of an image. It is instead good for publisher because users that are more interested in a subject than one or two images will spend more time on their website.

    Another comment here was about complexity and an extra layer of choice. I believe that it will always be possible but if Google want to grow, they need to make their products appeal to new customers. We should want to applaude more of this because Google is known for being non-cool and too techy!

    One more way to change Google image search in a positive way would be to implement the same viewing options as seen by the iphone on the iPad.

  10. @most recent anon

    You're, if I may say it, geeky enough to read not just a Google blog, but a Google *fan* blog. Google is "techy", as in useful. Bing and Yahoo are "cool", as in pretty, cluttered, and useless. I don't like seeing Google turn into Bing.

  11. You should take an aspirin and chill down! Google isn't turning into Bing because of this.

  12. @ previous Anon - "Not turning into Bing"

    They don't want to 'turn into' Bing, Google are complacent with copying Bing's best features and then pretending they've had them all along, coasting on a wave of user ignorance.

    - Left-hand sidebar

    - Image search options (Colour, people, style)

    - Background image


  13. Terrible. If you want to search for images its quicker to click on Images button rather than type 'picture'...

  14. Now I don't see why Google couldn't just have display most revelant and diplay all images as different buttons, like how the Web does "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky".

  15. Where the @#$% are the OPTIONS to control the google search UI look & feel and behavior (native) and I mean CUSTOMIZE (not just one or two legacy 'choices') and I'm not talking about browser add-on tools. Google is opposed to user customization and that ought to be just criticized as much as possible.


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