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Your photos represent some of your most important memories and life events, yet they are increasingly difficult to manage as you build up your photo library, accumulate new devices and make new friends. In many cases, searching for your photos can be challenging because the information you’re looking for is visual.

Starting today, you’ll be able to find your photos more easily and connect with the friends, places and events in your Google+ photos. For example, now you can search for your friend’s wedding photos or pictures from a concert you attended recently. To make computers do the hard work for you, we’ve also begun using computer vision and machine learning to help recognize more general concepts in your photos such as sunsets, food and flowers.


Try it out on Google.com by signing in and searching for [my photos] or [my photos from new york last year] or [matt’s photos of food]. You can also try out this feature on Google+ Photos.

Update (4:45 p.m. PST): To clarify, searching for [my photos] and similar terms is currently available in English on Google.com when you are signed in to your Google+ enabled Google Account.

Posted by Matthew Kulick, Product Manager


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When you’re looking for images, chances are you want to check out more than just one. So we’ve redesigned Google Images to make it easier to move through a series of images -- it’s now faster, more reliable and lets the images do the talking.



Instead of sending you over to a whole new page to preview an image, you’ll see a preview of the image in your search results. Once you click on an image, you can quickly flip through the whole set of image previews using your keyboard. Your search results stay in the panel so you don’t lose track of what you were doing; if you want to go back to looking at other search results, you can just scroll down and pick up right where you left off. If you want to check out the website where the image is hosted, you can click on the photo or use the tools available.

The new design is rolling out worldwide over the next few days. Google Images has always been about providing you visual answers. We hope this update makes it easier and even a bit more fun to find the images you’re looking for.

Posted by Hongyi Li, Associate Product Manager

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Since its launch last year, people have been using Search by Image to do everything from tracking down the origins of old photographs to more exotic applications like search by drawing, recursive search by image, and creating photomosaics. To continue making Search by Image more useful, almost every week we launch changes to the algorithms that power this feature. Some of these recent changes include:

Smarter best guesses

When you search with an image, we use computer vision to try and figure out what the image represents, and then show you a “Best guess for this image.”


There are times when we may get it wrong or we won’t show any guess at all. However, we’ve made recent improvements to provide “best guesses” for more images more often and make the guesses more accurate. For instance, now you’ll see that the image above is not just a “flower,” but more specifically, that it is a bird of paradise, which is popular in Hawaii.


Knowledge Graph results

With the recent launch of the Knowledge Graph, Google is starting to understand the world the way people do. Instead of treating webpages as strings of letters like “dog” or “kitten,” we can understand the concepts behind these words. Search by Image now uses the Knowledge Graph: if you search with an image that we’re able to recognize, you may see an extra panel of information along with your normal search results so you can learn more. This could be a biography of a famous person, information about a plant or animal, or much more.


(Tip: In Chrome or Firefox 3.0+, images from the Knowledge Graph area can be dragged into the search box to start another search!)

More comprehensive search results

Finding more information about an image is the most common use of Search by Image. Very often this information is found on websites that contain either your image or images that look like it. We’ve made recent improvements to our freshness, so when photos of major news stories start appearing on the Internet, you can often find the news stories associated with those photos within minutes of the stories being posted. We’ve also expanded our index so you can find more sites that contain your image and information related to it.

Before, you would see only one site with this image you searched for.

Now, you see more information and sites with that image.

Try Search by Image by simply uploading or dragging-and-dropping a photo into the search box on Google Images. You can check out our video for all the ways you can search using an image, and you can also download the Chrome or Firefox extensions to make searching photos from any website even easier.

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(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

Today we’re making it easier for you to hone in on that perfect image or explore your topic visually with an update to related search links. Related search links have been around for awhile—they’re the row of blue links running across the top of your image search results—but today we’re making them more visual to help you find exactly what you’re looking for or just have fun exploring.

For example, when planning a trip to Greece, I may not know what places are worth a visit, so I search for [greece] on Image Search. Now, with more visual search links, I can hover over the links on the top of the results, like [santorini greece], and see a panel pop up with images of Santorini. Without having to type more words into the search box or clicking through, I can quickly glance at the pictures of Santorini. If I decide to click through, I find new links for further refined or related searches, such as [oia santorini greece] or [santorini greece sunset]. Now I’m sold, I want to see more Santorini images.

You’ll start to see these links whenever you search for images as we roll this change out globally over the next few weeks.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Mobile blog)

In July, we started to evolve the Google design and experience on Android and iOS tablets by updating features like larger touch targets and enhanced image viewing to make searching faster and easier. Today, we’re building on that foundation by adding a new image carousel for viewing large image results within a few swipes.

As someone who enjoys being outdoors, I like exploring beautiful images of nature. With the new image carousel, I can discover photos of bright sea anemones or colorful lorikeet birds on my tablet in a more interactive and immersive way. Now when I tap on an image result, it’ll expand in the carousel view and I can swipe through the search results. To learn more about an image, a tap on the web page preview, title, description or URL will take me directly to the webpage. See how you can take the image carousel for a spin:

  

Try out the new image carousel by going to Google on your iOS or Android tablet’s browser and searching for your favorite images. This feature is currently available in over 40 languages. 

I hope you enjoy searching for beautiful images in this new view. 

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Recommendations from your friends help making decisions on everything easier, from where to eat, to what movies to watch and where to go for your next trip -- and pictures can really help you decide. In March, we introduced the +1 button to let you make recommendations right from your search results page. Now, we’re extending this ability to Google Images.

Let’s say you’re looking to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and want to inspire a few of your climbing buddies to join you. You search for [mount kilimanjaro summit] and switch to Images mode to find rows and rows of photos testifying that this peak can indeed be conquered. By hovering over one of the images, you can quickly recommend this photo to your friends by clicking the +1 button.


Once they’re on board with the trip and start searching too, you’ll be able to quickly spot images they’ve recommended -- you’ll see annotations on the images they’ve +1’d on your search results page.


As with the other +1’s, you’ll need to create a Google+ profile before you can start +1’ing images. Your image +1’s will appear in the +1 tab of your profile, where you can see all of your recommendations in one place and delete those you no longer feel strongly about. To see +1’s on the image results page you’ll need to be logged into your Google Account.

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Last month, we announced Search by Image, which allows you to search using a picture instead of typing in words. Today, we’re giving you a look under the hood at how Search by Image uses computer vision technology to analyze your image, determine what it is, and return relevant results to you.

Computer vision technology is an active area of computer science research because it’s difficult for a computer to match a person’s ability to see and understand. Search by Image uses computer vision techniques to “see” what is in the image. Computer vision technology doesn’t look at the image filename or where the image came from -- rather, it looks at the content of the image itself to determine what that image is.

When you upload an image to Search by Image, the algorithms analyze the content of the image and break it down into smaller pieces called “features”. These features try to capture specific, distinct characteristics of the image - like textures, colors, and shapes. Features and their geometric configuration represent the computer’s understanding of what the image looks like.

These features are then sent to our backend servers and compared against the billions of images in our index to see if a good match exists. When the algorithm is very confident that it’s found a matching image, you’ll see a “best guess” of what your image is on the results page. Whether or not we have a best guess, you’ll also see results for images that are visually similar -- though they may not be related to your original image.

Check out this video below for an animated look at how Search by Image works.


Because our algorithm sees the world through the “features” that are extracted from images, those define what it can “see” well and what it can’t. We’re more likely to find a good match if your image query has a unique appearance, so landmarks like the Eiffel Tower work really well. Other things that lack distinctive features or a consistent shape, like a crumpled blanket or a puppy, don’t result in confident matches, but will return images which are visually similar in appearance. You can refine your results in those cases by giving the algorithm a hint. Add a word or two into the search box that describes the image, and the results may display better “Similar Images” results.

The results page summarizes a variety of information that we can match for your query image, including our best guess for the image, related web results, and images that are visually similar to the one you’ve uploaded.


To try out Search by Image go to images.google.com and click the camera icon, or download the extension for Chrome or Firefox.

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Back in April, we introduced Google Images with date annotations, a change that added dates on image thumbnails to help you see which images are most recent. Now, you can use the new date filter in the left-hand set of tools to narrow your search to just images from the previous week.

For example, if you search for [space shuttle], you'll see images for shuttle launches throughout the years. If you want to see just recent images, like ones of Atlantis, the most recent NASA shuttle to launch, you can click "Past week" in the left-hand panel of tools to see images from the last seven days.



To find other recent images, try searches for [women’s world cup], [mlb all star game] or [harry potter premiere].

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Starting this week we’re making it easier to quickly find great images right in your Google search results. Drawing from last year’s broader update to Google Images, we’ve integrated many of the features we introduced at that time into our main search results. Images will now appear in a tiled layout, with hover previews that give you a larger thumbnail and more information about a particular image:


Additionally, if we detect that your query has “high image intent” (meaning, we’re pretty sure you’re looking for images) we’ll start showing more images on the page. If you add words like “photos”, “pictures”, and “images” to a query, that means you’re probably not looking for a blog post or video. Showing more images on the main search results page makes it just that much faster to find the image you’re looking for. For example, in a search for [nebula pictures], instead of just three or four pictures at the top of the results, now you’ll find more than a dozen beautiful pictures filling up most of the page.


For more great looking examples, try out queries like [pictures of rainforests] and [monet photos]. This is currently available on google.com in English and will be available globally over the next month.