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Ever since Scour faded from the surface of the net, finding a good source of images has been tought to do. Fortunately Google has stepped up to the plate by working on an Image Search Engine. A variety of people submitted it, and although it is in beta testing, it seems quite functional and very cool.
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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It also returns results based on the text (and hopefully context) of the page that the image is contained on. Note that results don't always have your search parms in their path.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    this is so neat. I can send a link to someone & they can view 9,000 pictures of my city. Hey moderators, it can actually be used for things other than porn. geesh. :-)
  • I wish you could search by something besides filename and keywords. A shape based search like Eikon [] ( ) would be nice.
  • I look through [] to find random images [] for websites. Although most of the photos on there are not free (in the GNU sense), they do store copyright permissions for each image so you can check. (I haven't yet found a way to filter searches so only free images show up.)
  • Until now, it hasn't really been important to choose meaningful filenames for images. But now you should make sure to pick long, descriptive names (probably with lots of underscores) so that Google will find them.

    Also if Google uses 'alt text' to help the search, that's another good reason to add it to your images.

    I wonder whether they will apply the page-ranking algorithm to client-side imagemaps with 'label' text?
  • They already do scale the images down; I'm just saying they could make them a little smaller. Or at least provide that as an option.

    If they're currently generating thumbnails on the fly, it wouldn't be any slower to generate them a bit smaller. If they're currently saving the thumbnails to disk, a complementary set of extra-small thumbnails would take hardly any extra disk space (perhaps 20% as much).
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Thursday June 28, 2001 @07:26AM (#123052) Homepage
    As a modem user I would like an option for smaller thumbnails. Something like a 64x48 maximum size, reduced to 16 colours or fewer would be good. Then you could display all the matching results on a single page without it getting too big - another good thing for modem users (clicking through pages of results is too painful).
  • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Thursday June 28, 2001 @08:22AM (#123053) Homepage

    Cool ... if you ask for pictures of Bill Gates, the top two lines have several versions of the mug shot from when he was busted in New Mexico in his early 20s.

  • dr emilio lizardo = no documents found :(
  • Users may think it's cool, but some artists don't like the way [] it treats them.


  • Just turn off images in your browser if you don't want to see the previews.
  • Even better ... A search, with the porn filter off, on PUBLIC SEX brings up the FSF's GNU sketch ... hmm ...
  • This is very cool. All hail to the google!

  • Image search engines are only as reliable as the image metadata they query, and without consistent schema for decribing images beyond file type, they will never really work. And a workable schema of that kind would either take an eternity to type in or be inconsistent and probably both. The inability of a computer to truly make associations between visual images on anything like a real-world level is a key reason why we will NEVER, EVER get a computer with the (humanlike) intelligence and verisimilitude of HAL 9000 or Haley Joel Osment in "A.I." Computers are deaf and blind; always have been.

    In the meantime, I love the inefficiencies of image search engines, because it let's you play an oftentimes hilarious random association game. Because Google's engine relies on text info including file names and nearby captions and other content, the mix of things it thinks applies to your search term can be inadvertently very entertaining.
  • Damn, and I just used the last of my mod points, too. That is so begging for a "-1, Offtopic whining about not getting an article posted"...

    Didn't get posted? Boo-hoo. Try instead.


  • Hey, it is still in beta; I'm sure they'll add support for other languages in due course.


  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday June 28, 2001 @07:09AM (#123062)
    I can't see commercial porn sites caring, to be honest. After all, they all require you to login, and so google isn't going to get anything at all from them (unless they start buying accounts, which would go down like a lead balloon...)

    They might be a little miffed that this will make it easier for people to find the stuff they want for free, but so what? Them's the breaks; if you charge people for something they can get for free elsewhere, don't expect to make too much money.


  • Can't seem to find it []. (Do you dare to click that link?.
  • Lycos already provides such a facility. You can check it out at [].
  • The wonders of pasting a face on a body. Incredible...
  • Even when mature content filter is Off.

    It is allmost impsible to find any good porn!

    I have tried sex,nude,xxx only when I searched
    for hardcore did I find a few good pictures ;-)


  • It seems it bases the matches on name and content on the page.

    Try searching for cmdrtaco, I laughed my ass off at some of the stuff.

  • If the search doesn't work for you, try setting English as your language.

    So far for borderless Internet...


  • True, but for now you have to change it, so I thought I'd help in case some people couldn't figure out for themselves :-)

    BTW, have you tried the newly added languages? Hacker, Bork, Bork!, and more ... quite +1, Funny


  • It would be very helpful to be able to sort by image size (number of pixels, width times height). If I search for something that returns many hits, I usually have to crawl through tons of images that are hardly larger than a thumbnail and only rarely there is a large picture to be found. That's natural, because most images on the web are small, but sorting would help and the information is already there in their database.

    Another suggestion that is easy to implement - make it possible to search for files in a certain format only. JPEG is typically used for photos, so you will get much less graphics if you restrict your search to JPEG (or vice versa).

    An additional service that comes to mind is OCR - for several topics I found a surprisingly large number of newspaper scans. Google could use the text detected in the image to even further increase the search quality.

    Also, I hope they're using meta data. It's not there very often, but all major file formats (JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF) have the ability to store text or even more finegrained information (date, location, etc., think of JPEG/EXIF).

    A more complex extension would be query by example. You send up an image, they list images that look the same. This is much more powerful than mere text, but it works in a very different way.
  • Interesting. so the bottom line is that the search engine is still not even as good as mentioning what you were looking for in an aside on slashdot in a not terribly busy thread (everyone is pounding the MS thread).

    I'm not sure if that is a slam against or a validation of the value of the lint trap like quality of the mind of the /. community.
  • Did you notice?

    There is also a Google Linux Search Engine [] (even a penguin logo)

    There's also a Google BSD Search Engine [] (with daemon) and a Google Apple Mac Search Engine [] (with fruity colors) too.

    Surprisingly absent (or not!?) is a search engine for that other [] operating system...
  • Because Amazon have a 1-click porn patent.
  • Dude, you rock. I had actually been to this website about a year ago looking for it, but they didn't have it then. Thanks.
  • I didn't do a search for the poster, but for the picture I want on the poster. I KNOW the web has a picture I want because I have seen it many times before. If I do a search for "barney sidecar" I find the pic I'm looking for (on a mug and a t-shirt). The problem is that I have to know it is called the barney sidecar picture even though he is clearly not in the sidecar, but on the bike. In the Andy Griffith episode he may have ridden all over the place in the sidecar with someone, but on the pic he is on the bike.
  • by boarder ( 41071 ) on Thursday June 28, 2001 @07:54AM (#123076) Homepage
    I just did a rather varied bevvy of searches on this and came up with very mixed results.

    The first search was for "dog on a bike" just to look for a very obscure and odd picture item. Lo and behold, the 15th or so picture is of a dog sitting on a motorcycle. I was really excited at how well it worked. The rest were pictures of either dogs and/or bikes, which is understandable.

    Next search was for "standing in the rain" to find a common picture of a specific scenario. The results were not so good. I did find pictures of people standing in the rain, but I found more drawings and things that had nothing to do with rain.

    Next I played around with the 'mature content filter' and searched for "bath tub." I got about 20000 pictures of bath tubs and showers and the like, but not one porn pic. Although I guess this is good if you're shopping for bath tubs, it did miss a large segment of people looking for pics of women in a bath tub. I'm sure if you did a search for "hardcore porn", you'd find hardcore porn, but I'm at work and I'd get in trouble for doing that.

    The final search was for a SPECIFIC picture that would make this search engine pretty useful. My father is looking for the poster of Barney Fife sitting on a big motorcycle. It's a funny poster, but we haven't found it anywhere (I have found the picture at some sites, just not the poster). I did multiple searches for "barney fife," "fife bike," "fife motorcycle," barney motorcycle,"... you get the picture. Almost every picture that came up was a banner-ad type picture advertising different websites. Only when I searched for just "barney fife" did I find pictures of barney fife. Otherwise, I would ONLY get little icons and other useless graphics. No motorcycles or barneys at all. I even got a graphic for an anti-DVD website.

    The useless graphics and icons were prevalent in every search I did. I'm guessing if you're searching for a graphic of something like a smiley face, this would be helpful. Otherwise, it was only marginally interesting.

  • Actually, while this is probably more useful for the non-skin variety of image than, I somehow feel that Mr. Taco was talking about the 'pink' variety of image. I don't recall there being much media on Scour besides the pornographic variety, sadly.

    I might as well provide Taco with a link to help him out. KaZaA [] (despite the gay name) has all the functionality of scour, plus some.


  • search for xxx, turn off mature content filter, BLAMMO! []

    So, when will be filtered by CyberCensorNetMommy?

  • Seriously, how often do you want to search for some other specific picture?
    Well, people doing graphic design who are too cheap to buy clip art collections could use it.

    I just took three minutes and found something I could use...

  • Not! Have you ever read the GPL?

  • Indeed. Unless Google has some human-level artificial intelligence technology up their sleeve, their reputation is going to be seriously tarnished by inevitably turning up porn results for innoccent searches.

  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Thursday June 28, 2001 @06:58AM (#123082) Homepage
    I noticed this. At work.

    Much as I loathe adult filters, I wish they had one for this service, just so I don't get the random fellatio image on my screen at work.

  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Thursday June 28, 2001 @06:45AM (#123083) Homepage Journal
    THe one thing that I like this over is a frickin' DIRECT LINK to the image in question.

    With, you have to go to the actual web page, which sometimes doesn't even have the iamge. I'm assuming its because the web page in question has changed over time(since it was last indexed by altavista), or is such a heavily dynamic website, you'll have to scrounge thru the site to get it.

    With google, it's just TWO clicks away to steal someone else's work. I'm happy. Again, google rules for search engines.
  • now it's that much easier to find p0rn, and no pop-ups
  • If google also used the ALT field of the IMG tag, it could be really handy.

    It would also encourage people to propagate their web pages with meaningful descriptions.
  • There's been one available for a long time at [], brought to you by the fine folks at Fast Search and Transfer ASA [].
  • Snurfle. Google is easy enough to use for porn anyway. Just try searching for .jpg and as long as there is not a hugely popular actress with the same first name, you will get a tonne of porn in the results, whether you want it or not. At least the images search engine allows you to mask out the porn images.
  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Thursday June 28, 2001 @09:36AM (#123088) Homepage Journal
    AltaVista []

    Corbis [] []

    Lycos []

    Photos To Go []

    Diggit! []

  • I was playing around and found some interesting results that may give insight into the algorithm they're using.

    When entering the phrase "gang bang", these are two of the images on the first page of results: pg [] t2/78-04.jpg []

    Makes ya think, no?

  • I've been wanting to write an open sourced image search engine for a long time, I guess that now I can just try to join the google team.

    One idea that I had was to use optical character recognition (like many scanners do) to pull out possible words... much like the portrayal of Neo when he was searching for Morpheus.

    This is a technology that can widely expand the usefulness of searching tools, but can also invade people's privacy. Let's say that your local paper publishes your photo... now anyone in the world can see what you look like.

  • Right, here comes the "not news" refrain again... Well of course there have been similar services available, heard about ditto or altavista ?

    Well didn't work for me either, but fontsearch did.

    However the images or fonts returned by those sites are not free, you have to purchase the files. Those 2 sites are really a bunch of crap, for commercial images, use Corbis [] or Associated Press [] instead !

  • If this takes off, how long do you think it will take until all the pron sites start calling every single image on their page titillating names, with huge alt tags? Alternatively, they may call them 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg Then they will start calling their salacious images things like "summersday.jpg" "sunset.jpg" and "concorde.jpg" i.e. things people might genuinally search for. I don't think google would handle that very well.
  • Thats was pretty badly worded. I'll try again:

    Things they could do to boost hits include

    1) Give their images salacious filenames/alt tages
    2) Give their images innocuous, but popular filenames/alt tags

    Things they could do to hide their images:

    1) Give their images names like 1.jpg 2.jpg etc.

  • This is indeed very cool; I've been starved for clip-art for a Scoop site I'm running, and easily found a lot of images that I could use. But doesn't this technology make it a little too easy to steal copyrighted work? The images are provided out of context with no instructions about appropriate use. People would probably quite naturally think the images were free for the taking, especially when removed from their home pages.

    I'd love to use some of the images I found right away, but know that I probably shouldn't, or that at least I should research each one individually and try to find out what its appropriate use/copyright status is. But Most People(tm) won't do that, and I wonder if this is going to lead to some kind of Napster-like backlash.

    Maybe we need to develop an XML "copyright_status='public-domain'" attribute for images, and try to get people to use it? (Sure, that'll happen.)

  • This would require google to save every image it indexes, shrink it down, reduce color, and save it on their machines so that you can see it

    No, it wouldn't require them to save anything; it can be done on the fly by the server with a little coding. The resulting image is transmitted and immediately forgotten, existing only in the user's browser cache. It takes some computation time, so that may be too big a burden for the server to handle on a large scale, but it can be done.

  • THe one thing that I like this over is a frickin' DIRECT LINK to the image in question

    Unless, of course, you have Bork Bork Bork selected as your language. Possibly other foreign languages. In which case the search from becomes a regular google search. Beta it is.


  • Kitty porn! []. Second hit when you type porn...
  • The images are not free because:
    Webcore Labs arbitrairlly limits distribution at it's sole discretion.
    Webcore Labs arbitrairlly limits use at it's sole discretion.

    The software is not free because:
    It may not be used for any purpose, at the discretion of Webcore Labs.
    It may not be transfered without Webcore Labs permision.
    It almost certianly can not be modified.

    It would be unwise to include use any of their images without modification. I prefer to make my own images when I need them or use truely free images.

    Prohibition of sale != GPL. Sell what you want, just distribute the source code and don't tell people what they can and can not do with their computers.

    Thank you for presenting this piece of their liscence. I don't agree with the way they like to share things.

  • People are submitting what they saw on "The Screensavers" last nite? Mercy. I thought Slashdot drove their content, not the other way around.

    What's next? Barking cats?

  • I'm about to submit [] to f'd company [], since that's the only thing I (or anybody else I know) have used them for.

    As fast as Google is (even under the slashdot effect), I think I just visited Ditto for the last time.

  • by ThePurpleBuffalo ( 111594 ) on Thursday June 28, 2001 @06:44AM (#123102)
    Keep in mind that there is also IStockPhoto []. All images are free for use, similar to the GPL.

    Beware tpb
  • Sorry, but I'm not sure my wife would like the idea of a girlfriend.

    Maybe you can't understand that I'm talking economics here. The same economics that drove the VCR industry, for instance.

    Ah, that's what I get for reading AC posts.

  • Hmm. Probably 90% of the searches on this will be porn. Seriously, how often do you want to search for some other specific picture?

    The commercial porn websites won't like it, and Google will have a hard time justifying this service for hunting down porn. I just don't see it making financial sense. (something Google is pretty good at understanding)

    So in other words, grab all the pics you can now. :-)

  • A friend of mine writes image-recognition code for Ditto [] (formerly Arriba Vista). They've been providing this same service for over 2 years.

    Google is amazing, and I'm sure that their search will be better eventually (if it isn't already), but this is a difficult field, and it's nice to have options. Give them a look.

    "We all say so, so it must be true!"
  • While Google caches both summaries and full length webpages, they only seem to cache thumbnails for the images. It would be really nice if they also cached the full size image.
  • google groups (the old deja) is still in beta, but in my opinion it is still fully functional. i use it regularly to get information that i need. i even post messages from time to time to ask for some help with things. i think it's pretty good. i haven't seen the new, but i'm sure it's pretty good too. i don't think google would have released something out to the internet public like this if it wasn't really functional.
  • Oh, weak! The worst picture of myself, ever, is the only one (out of I would say 20 or 30) that comes up! How lame is that?

    Think of all the hot chicks that are going to look me up and go "ewww, nasty"!


    -jason m

  • [] has an image search engine feature that is just as good and in fact the interface is much cleaner.


  • bah - my search [] returned very little in the way of self-loving-fun.
  • Where's the "Filter Non-Adult Content" option?
  • Altavista [] already does this.

    Mad Scientists with too much time on thier hands

  • Where I work, we have a term for finding embarassing things on the web from people we know... it's "Kerslap!". It's a little like ego-surfing [], except in reverse.

    Imagine what you could find for "CmdrTaco" or "JonKatz" through this amazing search engine? Naked photos? Embarassing drunken pee-pee shots? Oh yes. All this and more....

  • Excellent... a resource that was really needed!


  • "more evil than satan himself"


  • With, you have to go to the actual web page, which sometimes doesn't even have the iamge.

    I've been using Google Image for a couple of days now, and can tell you that this still happens. Google will give you a thumbnail, but to get the full size image, you still have to get it from the site.

  • Perhaps the reason that you couldn't find a particular Barney poster is that there aren't any on the web. In that case, it wouldn't be Google's fault.
  • This shows the difficulty of classifying images on the web. All that a search engine has to go on is the image url, the alt tag, and any text that seems to be associated with it. The barney sidecar problem is more because whoever put it on the web isn't properly identifying it. Pretty frustrating. Still, I'd rather have an imperfect system than none at all.
  • Hmm. Probably 90% of the searches on this will be porn. Seriously, how often do you want to search for some other specific picture?

    I dunno about 90% - there are sex search engines out there. Afterall, if there is a demand for a site someone will build it and put an ad banner up on it.

    I personally will find it useful - both work and otherwise.

  • I was wondering about the 'porn' factor, so I tried

    "blue footed booby"

    "bird english tit"


    Each time, I got at least a couple of images of what I was looking for and no porn. That makes it good enough for work usage, in my books.

  • What we really want is a reverse mature content filter, isn't it? - ultimate pr0n search engine :o) Oh well, at least it's better than using *cough* altavista for finding images. -- Rasher
  • Linking to their beta test is going to give Google load testing of their dreams.
  • Even better, try entering CmdrTaco. Just be sure you have the mature content filter on(it is by default). Don't turn it off for the love of god!

  • Yep, good quality for a beta product, and quite accurate as well. Lacking some functionality, like refining searches etc. (akin to Altavistas "find similar" option).

    Recognizing images by their name is rather inaccurate though, I wonder if there's some manual editing involved, or if they use ImageMagick or something to try and determine the pictures contents by pattern matching ;) (more than 40% greens == probably a landscape photo...)

  • Much as I loathe adult filters, I wish they had one for this service, just so I don't get the random fellatio image on my screen at work.

    They do have an adult filter in place, on the search result page it would appear where you can see the results without it on. Obviously it's not perfected, though.
  • I think someone [] needs a PR firm...

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • I still can't find any of my pics on the web. But then it is beta.

    Most annoying is that it finds a mess of images with weirdo domain names my DNS has never heard of (and it's heard of a _lot_!)

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • go search for "dumb []" and you will find GW, 3rd down, on the left.

    Click and vote him UP!!!

  • Can Google display the full image with just one click? Why does it take two?
  • This is perfect! I had heard this rumor that there is this fabulous picture out there but all I know about it is that the word goat is associated with it. I had better search for it right now! :P


  • I don't know how many times I've spent hours (on my connection) trying to find a tolkien image, or a cool desktop theme. I am pleased that once again Google has stepped up to the plate and beat the competition. I'm interested to see where else the net takes us as these "dotcommers" fall away and truly intuitive people keep the industry fun.
  • This is cool - almost as cool as FTP search engines.
    FTP searching has been around for ages. It used to be called archie [] . It's namesake counerparts were veronica for global Gopher searching, and jughead, for local Gopher indexing.
  • People are submitting what they saw on "The Screensavers" last nite?
    Actually, it was posted to Memepool [] on Tuesday morning. Given the fact that the guy that runs Memepool went to CMU with at least one Google employee that I know of, it's no surprise that Memepool got the early scoop. I tend to see a lot of stories on Slashdot that were posted to Memepool days prior. It's no big deal, sharing the knowledge is what it's all about.
  • Altavista SUCKS! Google has just amazed me again.

    I did a search for "Teddy Bear". In other search engines the image has to have "Teddy" or "Bear" in the file name. This has returned accurate and useful results for files named "Bruno.jpg", "14b483eev.jpg", "Tbb1.gif", and "cinamonted.gif".

    I have never seen a search engine that was USEFUL in any manner for image searching without the filename EXCLUSIVELY having one of the search terms. All alternately named files are never returned.

    Google, you are still the best!
    (Now drop those stupid "common word" exclusions if they are in quotes. That is a really dumb way to make the search engine less useful.)
  • It's real slow. I doubt that a major site like Google - which probably has more traffic than /. - would be slashdotted.

    I'm hoping that they're having temporary server problems or something; I've really come to love the "Found 123,456,789 results in 0.11 seconds" speed; a server (okay, a massive cluster of them) can find thousands and thousands of links, put them in dynamically generated webpages, and send them to me, on teh opposite side of teh US - in less time than it takes me to read my hard drive!

    Hehe, searching for things like "bob" produces interesting results; it's pictures of a ton of people named Bob. And a hand coming out of an apple...

  • why doesn't google link to this from They don't have a link to on their main page either! I understand they're going for the "simple" look, and thats cool, but shouldn't they have some little text links somewhere on the front page? I only know about both these services because of /.! Granted, they are reaching a decent audience this way, but they ought to mention it on

  • IStockPhotos license is not similar to GPL. It prohibits redistribution of pictures, among many other things.

    From their licence []:

    It is prohibited to rent, transfer, distribute or grant any rights in the software, the images contained within the archive and/or the accompanying documentation in any form to any person without the written consent of Webcore Labs Inc., prior to the act.

  • I have an unusual last name. If I type it into the search box, four pictures of me and my family appear.

    Not sure I like that at all.

  • They do. It appears to be on by default, and works pretty good as far as those things go. I searched for "cunt" and didn't see too much pr0n. Turn it off and you see some *cough* interesting stuff.

    The cunt coloring book was my favorite.


  • has been around for a long time now, more than a year I think.
  • I get a javascript error on so I can't comment on how well it works...

    I think the point is that the Google service is searching the whole web (well, as much as it can) for images rather than an archive of stock images.
  • PORN!

    No, wait. Too obvious.

    This is cool - almost as cool as FTP search engines []. I'm really surprised it's taken this long for another search engine to replicate scour, given the drive to differentiate yourself from all the other search engines out there.
  • I put picturefuse [] together after I saw the opendirectory project. It is a free digital archive with a public and private gallery.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27