Image Search Engines
An image search engine is devoted to returning images, rather than general web pages.
Images search engines, and editing
An image search engine is a search engine devoted to indexing images, or multimedia that incorporates pictures of various kinds. Google, and some other general search engines, offer image searching as an option.
- After using an image search engine you need software to organise the images you find.
In 2006 Google introduced Picasa, an application that allows you to find, edit and share images on your PC. It automatically finds your pictures and sorts them into albums organized by date with recognizable folder names. You can easily customize these albums and create new groups.
Picasa provides one-click editing and effects, and makes sharing pictures easy via email, printing, CDs, Hello™, and blog posting. Fixes for fast and easy to crop, Removing red eye, fixing contrast and colour, and picture enhancement becomes easy.
"It's not just free. It's better than ever. This past summer, the ever-expanding Google empire acquired Picasa, one of PC Magazine's favorite photo-management tools, and a week later, in keeping with its usual business strategy, the company quit charging for the application." - Picasa Review by PC Magazine.
The indexes of image search engines are usually created from words associated with the pictures. Direct indexing of visual characteristics is an experimental procedure, and not in general use.
- Image search engines use existing search engine technology, with additional strategies.
The Image Search Engine is likely to start by using the filename or alt picture tags to index the image. It might also use words close to the image, or meta tags found at the top of the HTML coding. The following is a list of commonly used specialized image search engines, some access the web directly others have stock collections.
|Image Search Engine Directories||Image Search Engines|
|Big Search Engine Index||Alta Vista Image Search|
|Fagan Finder||Ditto - See the Web|
|Search-22||Google Image Search Engine|
|Internet Image Search Engine|
Image search engines & enhanced search
A variation on image search engines, are search engines that perform the usual text search, but returns images of web pages.
For the frequent searcher, it is estimated that
- 50% of searches end in failure.
- The time for an average search is 15 minutes.
Anything that can improve these figures has to be useful.
The mega search engines Google, Yahoo, and MSN all have a similar look and feel. You type text in, and you get text out. Of course, their ranking methods and the size of their indexes differ; but the search experience is exactly the same.
Snap is an example of a search engine that not only returns text from the searched for web pages, but returns snapshots of the
pages. Each snapshot is an exact image of the page, reduced in size.
Users can often better judge a result to be good if they see an image of the page, rather than just a text snippet. When Snap returns results, you see the usual text on the left of the screen, and an image preview on the right. The designers of snap suggest this eliminates much guesswork, thereby reducing the number of unproductive back and forth clicks to determine if a site is worth your time.
In fact, Snap also performs as a normal image search engine. If the web pages returned have embedded image then you see those reduced in size, as well as the web page. This means you get a useful preview of what images are available.
Snap is worth exploring, but it is yet to be seen if it can enter the ranks of the mega search engines.