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Google image search history (infographic)

Infografik: History of Google Image Search

Infografik: History of Google Image Search

The Google Image Search is the largest collection of images ever. And it is free and public. Google has changed the world, even if most people didn’t noticed it anymore. Does anyone remember the time before that? If you searched for a picture you needed books or other printed material. You have to buy it or work in libraries. „Search for similar images“ in the library’s database was a dream. The following infographic shows the chronology of the Google image search. It is only 12 years old.

Below the infographic you can find some hints including many source-links. Please click for zoom):

History of Google Image search (Infographic)

History of Google Image search (Infographic)

History of Google image search“ (by Martin Missfeldt). Feel free to share and use it on websites or blog (CC-BY-SA). If you link this page, I would appreciate it.

The chronology / history (including source links)

  • July 2001: Google introduces the new images search. At the time, 250 million images indexed. First, a „beta“ version is launched.
  • A few months later, the beta status is canceled. The Google Image Search is now „officially“.
  • Febr. 2004: In the meantime, 880 million images in the Google Images index.
  • Febr. 2005: The threshold of 1 billion indexed images was broken.
  • Jan. 2007: Revised layout (see here)
  • May 2007: Larger thumbnail at rollovers
  • June 2007: Face filter for detecting faces in photographs (see)
  • June 2008: „Report bad images“ is started, which allows you to report unwanted or inappropriate images in the image search.
  • Oct. 2008: Now also advertising in the Google Image Search is displayed. Google experimented several weeks with regard to the optimum position.
  • Dec. 2008: „Search by style“ offers a new filter option.
  • Jan. 2009: An algorithm update in terms of safe search filter deletes many innocent images from the index. However, adjusted for several days.
  • April 2009: Similiar Images is launched. So you can find „similar images“ now. First in Google Labs, the Experiment forge. In October it goes live.
  • July 2009: Important Design & Layout Update: turned the dusty navigation at the top, which was recently crammed with new options and filters, then move to the left side. This update was one of the most important steps in the development of Google Image Search.
  • Nov. 2009: Google Image Swirl starts with labs in an entirely novel approach to the intuitive image search. Although the concept has never been enforced as such, far-reaching sort and link options have been tried here yet.
  • Dez. 2009: Google installs with „Infinit scroll“ a usability concept of Bing.
  • Apr. 2010: Google officially announces that you can now insert images or create images in sitemaps sitemaps.
  • June 2010: Design & layout update. This update was from a usability point of view probably the most significant in the history of image search. The concept with the 20 frames per side was dropped. Instead, the images are now crowded – listed – without more information. The basic idea came from bing, but Google has implemented as so often better in terms of speed and usability.
  • Oct. 2010: Again raises a large safe search filter update many pages from the „moderate“ Google image search index. „Also, I had to fight my way through the jungle.
  • Dec. 2010: This day of the dawn of a new era for all images-Seo. For while until then always came only sporadic dates new images in the index (see „Image Search Updates“), the indexing of new images has now been blurred. It was sometimes only a few hours to get a new image was to be found in the image search. Google also began to use the „normal“ bot to index new photos.
  • Jan. 2011: Besides jpg, gif and png also SVG files are now indexed by Google and can be found in the image search.
  • Feb. 2011: Google launched in cooperation with some of the world’s most important collections of paintings in the „Google Art Project„. In terms of navigation and designs things to be introduced here, the later to be found in the Google image search.
  • Apr. 2011: Images will now get a date. Another indication that Google now indexes fluency new images.
  • May 2011: Sort by Subject is launched. With this option, you can filter to sort the results of a query.
  • June 2011: With „Search by Image“ Google provides before an amazing image search option. Unfortunately many people forgot to mention that the search concept was already years earlier developed by the Canadian company TinEye.
  • Aug. 2011: After so many updates on surfaces and functions Google now launched an algorithm update.
  • Nov. 2011: After the launch of Google Plus, it was only a matter of time until the +1 button will also appear in the image search.
  • Febr. 2012: „Similar images“ are offered as thumbnail-previews in the upper part of the image search when rollover the words.
  • June 2012: After a long period in which nothing exciting happened, announces a Google image search algorithm update.
  • Oct. 2012: Again, the SafeSearch filter is exacerbated by Google to remove offensive images from the normal search results.
  • Nov. 2012: In a largely unnoticed layout update Google images reduces the amount of lines, which get a lot more pictures in the visible range. This update is only about 2 months visible.
  • Dez. 2012: A large Algo Update (probably the SafeSearch filter on) is responsible for massive shifts in the image search. Before the big relaunch the database is cleaned.
  • Jan. 2013: Also, the January 24, 2013 will go down in the history of Google Image Search. On that day Google has changed the concept fundamentally. The „Search Engine“ turns into a „Find Engine“. When clicking on a picture you will no longer get to the website on which the image is seen. Instead, the large size is now displayed directly in the image search. Due to massive protests this new application will not be introduced at (for now).
  • Mar 2013: Google now also indexed animated gifs (filter function).
  • July 2013: For easier and faster navigation arrows are included next to the big image results.
  • Sept. 2013: A great image search update rolls again confused the search results. However, large parts are reversed (undocumented)
  • Oct. 2013: Google integrates the author snippet in the image search.

Whats next / challenges?

From my pojnt of view there is the – without question great images from Google search – three main challenges:

  1. Copyright: As nice as the new image search may be for the user, there is an application in which Google is the content of the landing pages in their entirety. That is – at least looked through the German eyewear – a clear violation of the copyright. Google should consider how you both – guaranteed in the Image Search – Usability and copyright compliance.
  2. Spam: lead many pictures when you click on them, on spamige Made-for-Adsense sites. This is also why Google has introduced the new Bidlersuche. It would be better to tackle the problem at its root: it needs a Panda update landing pages for images.
  3. Cause of the above problem is hotlinking. It is easy to steal image traffic from the search results by stealing images. It is time to stop these autometed spam m-f-a-galleries.

German version of this article.

Chronology of Google Image search

Chronology of Google Image search

More infographics (by me)

Category: Google imageSearch | Author: Martin Missfeldt   8 Kommentare

8 Comments zu "Google image search history (infographic)"

  1. Jordan

    What a great infographic – Well thought out!

    • Missfeldt

      Thanks Jordan.

  2. Manoj

    Complete hisory of google image.

  3. Alisha

    Nice Infographic. Thanks for sharing

  4. Varnost

    Such an insightful article. Would be great if you could update the list from 2013 to 2017 also.

Martin Mißfeldt

Author: Martin Missfeldt, Berlin based german artist, about creative image optimization and youTube video-optimization. This is the english version of More

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SEO Workshop

Seo-Workshop with Martin Missfeldt & Marco Janck:

Seo for Images and HLP
5. Nov. 2018 (in Berlin)
Language: German

More about it see this article (german)