Google is testing a new interface for their Image Search feature. The interface allows you to see an infinite number of image results in the search results, simply by scrolling. This works similar to how Bing Image Search currently works, where you do not have to use the pagination to see more results. Instead, the page will dynamically load more images as you scroll down through the results.
A Google spokesperson confirmed this test, telling me:
We’re continually testing new interfaces and features to enhance the user experience. What you describe below was one such test, which only a small percentage of users saw. We don’t have any additional details to share at this time but I hope that helps. For more information on the experiments we run, please see: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/this-is-test-this-is-only-test.html
Is Google copying Bing? Maybe. We’re not sure if Bing was not the first ever to try such an interface, but it certainly seems to be the first major search engine to try it and remains the only one to offer it. In trying to reconstruct the history of this feature, we can tell you….
- Microsoft launched infinite scroll on Live Search (now called Bing) in March 2006. It worked for both web and image results but was dropped from web results in September 2006, as Microsoft felt it slowed things down too much
- Google had infinite scroll as part of its SearchMash test site that launched in October 2006 and closed in November 2008.
- Amazon’s A9 search service also gained an infinite scroll-style feature in October 2006. The service no longer operates as general purpose search service, however.