Google revamps its photo search engine

The company also introduced a new ad format specifically for this search engine

Google has given a major overhaul to the layout of its Images search engine's results page and introduced a new advertising format specific for this service.

Google Images, whose index includes 10 billion photos, will now feature what the company calls a "dense tiled layout," designed to simplify the process of reviewing many images, the company said Tuesday.

In addition, Google is increasing the number of image results to 1,000 per page, while also providing larger thumbnails and the ability to hover the cursor over a photo and have a larger version pop up.

Google Images also now provides a new landing page after users click on a result. The page displays a large version of the image, with the Web page where it's hosted on the back plane. Clicking outside the image takes users to this external Web page.

The new advertising format, called Image Search Ads, lets advertisers include a thumbnail image along with the ad's text. Aside from the thumbnail image, Image Search Ads work like Google's pay-per-click (PPC) ads, the text ads that run along Google search results and in partner Web sites.

Although it is starting to diversify, Google still makes most of its revenue from PPC ads, which are priced and ranked through a process in which marketers bid for search keywords.

Image search engines are one of the most popular vertical search engines, along with those for news articles and maps, and as such Google Images, launched in 2001, is a key component of the company's menu of search services.

The rollout of the new Google Images version will begin today and be completed in the coming days.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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