Google July 20 trotted out improvements to its Google Image Search, which now indexes more than 10 billion images, and launched a new ad format called Image Search Ads.
Though Google claims to take inspiration for its changes from users, some of the alterations recall the work Microsoft has done with Bing's image search.
Like Bing, Image Search now sports a dense, tiled layout that packs more images on the Web page and makes them easily searchable.
Moreover, instant scrolling between pages lets searchers sift through up to 1,000 images in one page without having to click through links to get to their content.
Another feature Google has added that Bing employed a year ago is a simple hover pane. Users who mouse over a thumbnail image are treated to a larger preview, more info about the image and Image Search features such as Similar images, which shows exactly what it implies.
When users click on one of the images in the new Google Image Search, they're whisked to a new landing page that displays a large image in context, with the Website it's hosted on hovering behind it.
Users can click anywhere outside the image to go to the original page and learn more about the source and context.
Of course, there are features Bing doesn't have that Google does. Google's Image Swirl renders image results in a nice wheel graph that users can easily navigate.
Bing also hasn't yet gotten creative with ads on its Bing Images.
Concurrent with Google's image upgrades are Image Search Ads, which let advertisers include a thumbnail image alongside their lines of text. The ads will surface atop Image Search results pages the way text ads appear on top of Google results.
This approach is a break from Google's traditional model of text-only ads. This format also joins click-to-call ads as one of the many newfangled modes of advertising Google is trying to boost its revenue streams.
Google said the upgrades are rolling out in most local Google interfaces worldwide over the next few days.