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Advanced Google Image Search

Updated on January 19, 2013

Google Image Search

If you go to your local Google search page or just then you will be given the option to choose what kind of results that you want to see from your search criteria. One of the options is Google Images and this is great if you are trying to find a picture of something in particular.

You can use the standard Google image search feature to find a huge number of images that might match your criteria but you may also want to narrow this down by using the Google Advanced Search features. One of the really useful things that you can use in Google image search is to restrict the search by using the SafeSearch strict filtering button. This would have been quite useful for instance if my sister had known about it when letting my young nephew search for some images of Prince Albert (the husband of Queen Victoria) for a school project he was working on. *

*Warning: don’t do this search if you are squeamish!

Google Advanced Image Search Interface

Google Advanced Search gives you lots of options to restrict what comes back in your image search results.
Google Advanced Search gives you lots of options to restrict what comes back in your image search results.

Using Advanced Image Search

In the advanced search you can also limit the results you see to only show images of certain proportions, or a particular orientation (landscape or portrait not gay or straight!), containing faces, or images in a particular color amongst other things.

One thing you need to watch out for though if you are using images that you find through Google Image search is to check that you have the right to use those images in the manner that you want to. There is a feature in the advanced search that means you can specify whether images are either not filtered by the license type, are labelled for reuse, are labelled for commercial reuse, labelled for reuse with modification or labelled for commercial reuse with modification. Check out Google itself for more information on what these all mean but effectively this helps you find images that you might be able to use without paying for.

If you find Google search images that are not specifically licensed for reuse then you really need to check with the owner if you do want to reuse them, particularly for commercial purposes (e.g. on T-shirts or something similar that you are selling for profit).

Other places to find images that are licensed for use (they may have certain terms and conditions attached) are from stock image sites like iStockPhoto. These sites sell images for as little as $1 which is really not a lot to pay for a great quality image.

Google Image Search Results

The results that you get through from your Google image search show up as thumbnails ordered by what Google decides is the most relevant. This can be decided by various factors like the image name, text in the webpage that contains the image plus what the 'alt' value of the image is (the description of the image that the webmaster adds). As per the text search results, no-one knows but Google exactly how the results are calculated...

Hover over an image and you get a slightly bigger picture and once you click on a selected image you get taken to the website that contains it.

Google image search result display thumbnails of the relevant images.
Google image search result display thumbnails of the relevant images.


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    • Azure11 profile image

      Marian L 6 years ago from UK

      Mala, I did a bit of research on this. Firstly, quite often you will not find many results that are labelled for commercial use for many searches and so you might need to buy an image. However, it also looks like the spammers are in action and if you click on one of the images you may find that there are many words on the page related to that image. For example I found a picture of moss and when I clicked on it there were a whole lot of links underneath for, let's say, medical pills. One of these had the word 'symptoms' and another had the word 'neuropathic pain' and so although the picture has nothing to do with it, the accompanying (spam) text does.

    • Mala Srivastava profile image

      Mala Srivastava 6 years ago from India

      You have written very useful hub. But when I click on advanced search results and opt for images for commercial use, google is not showing me relevant images I am looking for. For example, I want to search images for symptoms of neuropathy, the pictures that are displayed consists of flowers and unrelated subjects. Why this is so?