When you’re in need of a photo, Google Images is usually the place to turn. The search engine indexes billions of images, returning them in response to your query. In almost every instance, a quick search is enough to bring about exactly the photo (or type of photos) you’re looking for.
However, besides displaying a thumbnail of the search results, Google Images doesn’t give you much other helpful information. Starting later this week, that’s about to change. The Big Tech firm is adding more details to its image search tool that will give users a better idea of what they’re clicking on.
Hovering over a thumbnail in Google’s current image search tool makes a tiny box show up in the corner that says what the photo’s dimensions are. While that’s helpful for users who are looking for images to use for a project of their own, it isn’t important to most browsers. That’s why Google has decided to revamp what its image search tool displays.
Soon, instead of showing dimensions, the same space will be used to display a tag or an icon. Each of these will show more about where the image originates from. For instance, if it is a cover image from a recipe, the photo’s tag would say “Recipe” with a silverware icon next to it. Meanwhile, photos indexed from an online store feature a “Product” tag with a price tag icon. Images pulled from a video will show a play button icon and the length of the video.
It’s worth noting that the new icons will appear in the bottom left corner of images by default. Then, scrolling over them with the mouse will bring up the text tag that matches. This will give users a glimpse of where every image originates from and allows them to find out more before actually clicking on it.
Google’s Search Liaison Twitter account posted about the new feature on Tuesday evening, confirming that it will arrive “later this week.”
Later this week, Google Images will show new icons on desktop that provide useful information to indicate if images lead to pages with products for sale, recipes or video content. Mousing-over icons expands them to show the icons with text or length of video…. pic.twitter.com/RrbGnk27iq
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 25, 2020
Transparency is Key
For those worried about finding the dimensions of an image before downloading it, fear not. They will still be available by clicking on the thumbnail to open a larger preview. Then, mousing over the image will bring the dimensions up in the bottom left corner as usual.
While the change to Google Images certainly isn’t a massive one, it is helpful. It will let users know more about the source of an image they want to click on and help them avoid things they aren’t interested in.
For instance, someone browsing for an image of a gaming keyboard might just want to see what it looks like and not end up on a product page. A user looking for a photo of a recipe to see if theirs turned out probably doesn’t need to arrive on a recipe page. However, someone merely looking for inspiration can find an image that looks appealing and then click through, knowing exactly where they’ll end up.
That sort of transparency is nice to see from Google and is a welcome addition to its image search tool. Keep an eye out for it in the coming days.