Like many people my age, I have a hard time keeping up with the “Who’s who” of today’s world. Friends often mention people who I have heard of, but I do not know who they actually are. When this happens, I often resort to a Google Images Search. Over the years I have found out who people are by seeing what they look like. Their image will then remind me of what movies I have seen them in or what context I have heard their name in before and I can immediately relate to who the person is. Sometimes, I can even hold a conversation about the people I do searches on so I feel hip and young again!
A few days ago I did a search on a celebrity my wife mentioned a few times, but something was different. The Google Image Search results page was entirely revamped. No longer do you see what website the image is from or the images’ dimensions without moving your mouse over the actual image. The way the images themselves are arranged is different too. Now all the images are grouped on one page, with a scroll system. The pictures load gradually as you move down the page, avoiding long loading times. It’s kind of nice to not have to load a second page to see more images.
Every time Google changes its design or the way information is provided I begin to wonder, “Why?” Well, more often than not, it seems to follow the lead of Bing. In the first Image Search I did on Bing, I can see where Google got its idea from. Bing organizes the images so that all the images have very similar sizes and dimensions, and Google’s image results are more of a mosaic. After this however, there are little differences in the two. In Bing, when you move your cursor over the image, you get the dimensions, size, and website, just like Google’s new display. The only difference is with Google the image expands a bit once you scroll over it. So this begs the question, “What is Bing going to do next to out-do Google?”
The fact that all the images are now appearing on one continuous page is a definite plus. It is nice to not have to wait for a new page to load. Scrolling down is quicker and easier. Secondly, I also like the fact that we don’t see the images’ size and what site it originated from, as this information is a waste of space if you are not interested in the picture in the first place. Some may argue that the original site is important information in order to determine relevancy, but it’s just an image. Relevancy, to me, is more about text. If I want a picture of a mountain, and I see it on a hiking boot website, it doesn’t really matter as long as the image tells the story I need it to. Thirdly, it is nice to have the image enlarged once you scroll over it. Sometimes these images on the results page can be too small to really see any detail in them. Other than just competing with Bing, the new results page is more user-friendly than the old one.
What do you think? Has the “new-and-improved” image search affected the way that you look for images? Is there anything else that is being overlooked when it comes to image search?