Google Images Reimagined - InformationWeek

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7/21/2010
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Google Images Reimagined

A revamped image search interface and a new image ad format promise easier image searching and more ad revenue.

Google on Tuesday introduced a redesigned version of Google Images and new visual ad format called Image Search Ads to accompany searches conducted using Google Images.

Google Images product manager Nate Smith says that images have become one of the most popular types of content in Google searches and that Google decided to update its image search service to keep up with the increasing quantity and variety of images online.

Bing's image search capabilities may also have contributed to the decision to undertake a redesign, given the similarity between Bing's scrolling and the new instant scrolling feature in Google Images.

The revised Google Images is being rolled out over the next few days. The changes haven't generated any controversy comparable to that which accompanied the recent Google News redesign.

"We hope they not only make it easier to search for images, but also contribute to a better aesthetic experience," said Smith in a blog post. "We see images as a major source of inspiration, a way of connecting the world -- and their growth is showing no signs of slowing down."

In addition to being able to scroll through up to 1000 images on a single page, the changes include: image tiles have less white space between them; there's keyboard navigation; the thumbnail previews have been enlarged; and there's now a hover pane that presents an image preview when mousing over a thumbnail.

The landing page that loads when a user clicks on an image tile shows the image in the context of the Web site that hosts it. Clicking outside that image area allows the user to find out more about the source site.

The new Image Search Ads are available to every advertiser, unlike Google Product Search Ads, which require Google Merchant Center accounts. They appear in Google Image Search results and include both an image and text.

Google reports seeing over a billion page views daily on Google Images, so Image Search Ads appear destined to enhance the company's already impressive advertising business.

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