Google Images

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Google Images
Google Image Search homepage
A screenshot of Google Images.
Google Images screenshot
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Image Search Engine
Registration Optional
Available in Multilingual (~100)
Owner Google Inc.
Launched July 2001
Current status Active
Reverse image search using Google Images.

Google Images is a search service owned by Google and introduced in July 2001, that allows users to search the Web for image content.[1] The keywords for the image search are based on the filename of the image, the link text pointing to the image, and text adjacent to the image.[citation needed] When searching for an image, a thumbnail of each matching image is displayed. When the user clicks on a thumbnail, the image is displayed in a box over the website that it came from. The user can then close the box and browse the website, or view the full-sized image.

Expansion and user interface (2001-2011)[edit]

In 2001, 250 million images were indexed. In 2005, this grew to 1 billion. By 2010, the index reached 10 billion images.[2] As of July 2010, the service receives over one billion views a day.[3] Google introduced a sort by subject feature for a visual category scheme overview of a search query in May 2011.[4]

In early 2007 Google implemented an updated user interface for the image search, where information about the image, such as resolution and URL, was hidden until the user moved the mouse over the thumbnail.[5] This was discontinued after a few weeks.

On October 27, 2009, Google Images added a feature to its image search that can be used to find similar images.[6][7]

On July 20, 2010, Google updated the user interface again, hiding image details until mouse over, like before.[8] This feature can be disabled by pressing "Ctrl + End" on one's keyboard and clicking "Switch to basic version".

In June 2011, Google Images began to allow for reverse image searches directly in the image search-bar (that is, without a third-party add on, such as the one previously available for Mozilla Firefox). This feature allows users to search by dragging and dropping an image into the search-bar, uploading an image, selecting a URL, or 'right-clicking' on an image.[9]

New algorithm and accusations of censorship (2012-present)[edit]

On December 11, 2012, Google Images' search engine algorithm was changed once again, in the hopes of preventing pornographic images from appearing when non-pornographic search terms are used.[10][11][12] According to Google, pornographic images would still appear as long as the term searched for was specifically pornographic. While explicitly stating that they were "not censoring any adult content", it was immediately noted that even when entering terms such as "blow job",[12][13] "boob,"[12] or even the word "pornography" itself, no explicit results were shown. The only alternative option is to turn on an even stricter filter which will refuse to search for the aforementioned terms whatsoever. It has also been noted that users can no longer exclude keywords from their search as before.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zipern, Andrew. "A Quick Way to Search For Images on the Web." New York Times. 12 July 2001. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Official Google Blog: Ooh! Ahh! Google Images presents a nicer way to surf the visual web". Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  3. ^ "Google images top 1bn page views". BBC News. 21 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Eric Mack (10 May 2011). "Google Wins the War Against Bing Images". PCWorld Communications, Inc. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Updated Google Images UI
  6. ^ Similar Images graduates from Google Labs
  7. ^ A new feature in Google image search for searching similar images
  8. ^ Google Image Search Gets an Overhaul
  9. ^ "Search by Image · Inside Google Search". Google Search. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Knight, Shawn. "Google updates image search algorithm, makes it harder to find porn". TechSpot. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  11. ^ Weber, Harrison (2012-12-12). "Google Tweaks Explicit Search Algorithm". Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  12. ^ a b c December 13, 2012 (2012-12-13). "Google Image Search Algorithm Change: Porn Is Harder to Find". Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  13. ^ "Google "Censors" Porn in Image Search". Search Engine Journal. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  14. ^ 01/18/2013 10:00 am (2013-01-18). "Google Image Search Negative Keyword Feature Not Working". Retrieved 2013-01-24. 

External links[edit]