Google Launches Streamlined Image Search

Like how Google Image Search works on a tablet? Good news, then. That simplified experience is coming to Google Images on the desktop.

Out With The Old

Currently, viewing an image through Google Image Search is a multistep process. You do the search, see several images and can hover to get a slightly larger thumbnail:

nasa earth - Google Image Search

If you want to see a larger version of the image, you have to click on the image, which brings up a bigger version superimposed over the actual web page the image is from:

Google Image Search close-up

In With The New

With the new system that’s coming out today, selecting an image after a search brings up the larger version in a central preview area:

This makes it easy to quickly skim through multiple images, rather than the existing system that requires a lot of clicking, then closing windows to go back and select a new image.

Fewer Publisher Visits? Phantom Visits?

The change also suggests that fewer people may visit the actual pages hosting the images, which might be a concern to publishers. Anticipating this, Google’s post about the change says that it has added new ways to reach the image owner’s site that supposedly increase visits:

The domain name is now clickable, and we also added a new button to visit the page the image is hosted on. This means that there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two. In our tests, we’ve seen a net increase in the average click-through rate to the hosting website.

When talking to Google about the change, I was also told that by not loading the hosting page, Google is no longer generating “phantom” visits that were a concern to some publishers, one of the biggest complaints Google said it heard from publishers about Google Images.

“That was causing problems for some webmasters, and so we thought we can do away with that. That’s gone now,” said Pierre Far, a webmaster trends analyst with Google. This, along with new options to reach publisher sites, is “a net win for webmasters,” he said.

Of course, publishers who might not feel this is a net win have an easy solution. They can block Google from indexing their images with just two lines in a robots.txt file, as Google covers here.

When do you get the new look? Google says it is rolling out live now worldwide and should be available to everyone over the coming days.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: Analysis | Google: Images | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • MiciROX

    You’re pretty one track minded yourself. And heck I’m not a hypocrite, if I founded Google and I can make billions, I’d do it.

  • sstojanoski

    50% drop in visitors and revenue. That’s all I’m gonna say.

  • Nashua Indigo

    agree and the other fact is that google is now showing Full Size Images as well

  • Nashua Indigo

    Who cares who starts first, the fact is that Google does everything to make it hard for a publisher and web developer, first the panda update, now they break it by theirself with this new search images thingy. So the only option is to disallow google bot images

  • Mushfiq

    I lost more than 60%. I am so angry !

  • helleborine

    Bing is also terrible, they provide pirate-webmasters with an API that lets them scrape Bing results.

  • Ryland Bacorn

    Is this affecting my “Google Referrals” traffic?

  • Supriya

    this indeed good one if we use the alt tag ,description of images properly and can drive more traffic to site as well

  • Deboti Chowdhury

    It is true with the previous image view, we had to click a lot. But I don’t understand this – “The domain name is now clickable, and we also added a new button to visit the page the image is hosted on. This means that there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two. In our tests, we’ve seen a net increase in the average click-through rate to the hosting website.” – the domain of a particular image was reachable with the previous view as well. I myself have reached so many domains with image search.

  • Jada Brooks

    A month later and I still haven’t got my clicks back. Lost between 15% and 25% traffic after the new Google Image Search, and this while my images are still indexed and appearing on top of the page.

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