Friday, July 15, 2011

Google Adds Search For Recent Images Option

Today, Google announced two important changes to the Google Image Search service. One is the ability to search for recent images, which was hitherto, impossible to do, and the other is the return of the ‘Larger than size’ and ‘Exactly’ image size option to the main page. Both are important additions that will allow people to get more relevant search results.

You may remember that Google started adding date annotations to images that were recently published and indexed by the search engine, when you searched for current events on their image search engine. Now, Google has added a new date filter in the left-hand set of tools to narrow your search to just images from the previous week.

image-search-options

Currently the filter allows you to search for images only up to the last week, which is not extremely helpful, but definitely a start. Google doesn’t mention anything about future plans – whether we’re going to see more date filters or not.

The second important change is that the size selection options - ‘Larger than size’ and ‘Exactly’, which were moved to Advanced search page, has been brought back to the sidebar. The size filter is Google image search’s one of the most distinguishing feature which no other competitor provides. I use this option quite often. So I was very disappointed when Google removed it. I drew comfort from the fact that I was not alone, when I saw people complaining about in Google's support forum.

Last week a team of Google Image Search engineers went on Reddit for an ‘IAmA’. For those who are unfamiliar with the social news sharing site, ‘IAmA’ is a section on Reddit where people from all walks of like – from the ordinary to the celebrity took questions from the community and answered them. Different teams from Google and Microsoft has done ‘IAmA’ in the past to gather feedback and honest opinion about their products.

The top question to the Google Image Search engineers was why the size option was removed. The team responded by assuring us that the feature will be moved back to where it belonged in a couple of weeks. Another most voted request was date filters, which the team promised to add.

Nobody can say for sure what part Reddit’s Q&A round played on today’s changes, but if you ask me, I would say it played the most important part.

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