Google images

Language Multilingual

Launched July 2001
Closed No

Developer Google Inc.

Country of Origin US America

2001 - [...] Google Inc.

Topic Image SeEn

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Image Search Engine
Image file search

Used SeEn Google Image Search

Robot: Googlebot Images (Source)

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

Wikipedia: »Google Images is a search service owned by Google and introduced in July 2001, that allows users to search the Web for image content. 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. 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. The Google President, Eric Schmidt, stated that Google Images search was created because of the desire to view Jennifer Lopez in her exotic green Versace dress. In 2000, Google Search results were limited to simple pages of text with links, but the developers worked on developing this further, realising that an image search was required to answer "the most popular search query" they had seen to date: Jennifer Lopez's green dress. As a result of this, Google Image Search was born. In 2001, 250 million images were indexed. In 2005, this grew to 1 billion. By 2010, the index reached 10 billion images. As of July 2010, the service receives over one billion views a day. Google introduced a sort by subject feature for a visual category scheme overview of a search query in May 2011. 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.[6] 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.[7][8] On July 20, 2010, Google updated the user interface again, hiding image details until mouse over, like before.[9] 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. « Source

Barry Schwartz (August 10, 2015): »Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it is currently running an experiment to index images found within PDF documents and display those images within Google Image Search. This feature was first noticed by Alex Chitu, who said he wasn’t sure if Google had the ability to find and display images within PDFs in their Google Image Search results. He was right, it was new. Google told us they started testing this feature in June.« Source

Phil Bradley (2005): » Google Image Search styles itself as 'the most comprehensive image search on the web' which is a fairly confident statement. The interface, in case you haven't tried it, will be familiar and doesn't look any different to that found on their home page. There is an option for advanced search (which I'll come to later), a good help page and a preferences section with standard options such as language, safe search filtering, number of results per page and so on. My search for "Robert E Lee" resulted in 14,600 results and there were only 3 results on the first page that were not directly of him. Google also gives searchers the option of limiting searches by size - Large, Medium or Small. This is vaguely helpful, although if I was going to use an image I'd be able to resize it using a graphics package. It would however be useful if I was using other images though. Under each image is the filename, size (both pixel size and file size), and the site that hosts the image. Choosing an image creates a framed page, with a thumbnail of the image at the top, the hosting page underneath and the option of seeing the image full size without having to open the page up properly.

My search for the British Prime Minister resulted in 45,900 images. 3 images returned on the first page of 20 results were not on target, but several others would have been unusable, since they had cartoon speech bubbles. The term 'flower' gave me a whopping 2,640,000 results which wasn't unexpected and there was only one image in the first 20 that wasn't of a flower of some sort (it was a flower press, which I think is fair enough). The term 'internet' gave me 4,280,000 hits with, as I suspected, a huge variety of types of image - keyboards, charts, diagrams and a guy tearing his hair out (I know how he feels!).

All in all, I was happy with what I found at Google as far as relevance goes (I'm not overly bothered by the actual numbers themselves, particularly since I'm limiting my comments to the first page of results), but I did think it was disappointing that I couldn't narrow my search very much other than by size.« Source


Critical points

Features & Functionality

Wikipedia: »Search by image: Google Images has a Search by Image feature for performing reverse image searches. Unlike traditional image retrieval, this feature removes the need to type in keywords and terms into the Google search box. Instead, users search by submitting an image as their query. Results may include similar images, web results, pages with the image, and different resolutions of the image. For example, if you search using a picture of a beach, you might get results including similar beaches, information about the same beach, and websites that use the same beach picture. The precision of Search by Image's results is higher if the search image is more popular. Additionally, Google Search by Image will offer a "best guess for this image" based on the descriptive metadata of the results. You can access Search by Image in four ways: Upload an image Click the camera icon in the Google search box. Select "Upload an image" and choose an image from your computer to upload. Drag and drop Click and drag an image from your computer into the Google search box. Not all browsers support this feature; use Chrome or Firefox 4+. Search using image URL Click the camera icon in the Google search box. Copy your image URL into the box labeled "Paste image URL". Right-click an image In Chrome or Firefox, right-click an image and select "Search Google with this image". Firefox requires users to first download Google's Search by Image add-on. Search by image algorithm: The general steps that Search by Image takes to get from your submitted image to returning your search results are as follows: Analyze image The submitted image is analyzed to find identifiers such as colors, points, lines, and textures. // Generate query Those distinct features of the image are used to generate a search query. // Match image The query is matched against billions of images in Google's back end. // Return results Google's search and match algorithms return matching and visually similar images as results to you. New algorithm and accusations of censorship: 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. 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", "boob," 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.« Source


Barry Schwartz (August 26, 2014): »This morning, for a few hours, searchers looking for images using Google Image search were presented with an image of a Russian automobile accident in the search results. Searching for dogs to cats, screen shots to flowers and diapers to pornography were all presented with the same image of an accident in Russia. The issue was resolved within hours but the question of what happened and why is still unknown. Google told us “Oops–speaking of accidents, we’v Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others): n.a.

Other Sources

Barry Schwartz (August 26, 2014): Google Image Search Bug Leads To Duplicate Russian Auto Accident Images In Search Results : Google won't say if this mornings weird image search results were caused by a bug or a hack. URL:
Barry Schwartz (August 10, 2015): Google Image Search Test Now Shows Images Within PDFs : Google is digging deeper to find more images across the Web, now experimenting with new discovery methods, including looking within PDF documents. URL:
Christian de Looper (2019): Google Images’ latest feature makes it easy to find that perfect shareable GIF URL:
Yoni Heisler (2019): Google Images just made it more difficult to find the photo you’re looking for URL:
Julia Alexander (2019): Google and Jennifer Lopez reinvent the Versace dress that created Google Images URL:
Ben Schoon (2019): Google Images quietly removes ‘exact size’ and ‘larger than’ search filters URL:
TASI (2003): A Review of Image Search Engines URL: (2018): A Brief History of Image Search URL:
Merle Ginsberg (2020): All the ways Jennifer Lopez’s Grammys Versace dress changed history URL:

Created: 2013-02-16