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Google Testing New Image Search Preview

It looks like Google is testing a new version of their image search preview function. Please note that you may not experience the same visual experience, as it appears they are only rolling this out to certain users (A/B Testing).

Table of Contents

The old image preview was clunky and loaded the image’s source website, placing a preview overlay of the image over the website content, with options to view the original image, click through to the website, etc.

Their new image preview expands a large preview pane below the image, with a much cleaner look and feel, that still allows you to click through to the website it came from or the original image.

The Good

I think the main benefit of the redesigned feature is that it is MUCH faster. It is also much cleaner, with less clutter and more “hey – here’s a better look of that image you wanted!”

The Bad

Unfortunately, there is no longer any sort of preview of what the originating website is all about. This could have a slight effects on the number of users that click through to a website and continue browsing it after previewing an image on Google Images. For some websites that are image intensive and get a lot of traffic this way, this could actually have a relatively serious negative impact.

What do you think?


  1. cantueso on February 1, 2013 at 2:45 am

    I have been on several sites and could not find anybody explaining why Google wants this change. How does it help their advertising income? Or what is the purpose?

    And how does the change affect blogging platforms like WordPress?
    I wonder. At their forum yesterday there were only 3 or 4 people asking what had happened, and yet people who rely on pictures for their blogs are down between 40 and 70%.

    • Decisive Design on February 11, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      Yeah, it is unfortunate sites that got a lot of image traffic are getting less, now, but you also have to look and see what kind of quality that traffic was bringing to see if it is indeed a real loss. That I can’t answer. I think that they streamlined the service a LOT for people just “looking for pictures”. If that was the initial intention of Google Images, then they certainly improved it with this update.

      The new version doesn’t offer any ad revenue, but you also have to consider they’re probably not done with it.

      Definitely hit the “Give Us Feedback” link at the bottom of the page and let them know your thoughts though. That’s the only way to have a voice and let them know your thoughts.

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