Google announced on Twitter that in November 2020 it has released an update to Google Image Search that reduces duplicative images in the image search results: “We made an improvement to Image Search to reduce duplicate images, so that we can display others that are relevant yet visually distinct.”
Visually distinct. Google has said the images it shows are now more visually distinct from each other, providing a more diverse set of relevant images for your query.
Here are some screenshots Google embedded to convey the differences:
Have you ever searched for something in Google Images and sometimes found the results dominated by the same image? To help, we made an improvement to Image Search to reduce duplicate images, so that we can display others that are relevant yet visually distinct…. pic.twitter.com/gGbC5v2aP8
November 2020. Google said in its announcement that this went live in November 2020, “we hope this improvement, which we introduced in November, helps everyone better make use of Google Images to be inspired and informed as they search visually.”
If your site gets a lot of Google Image Search traffic, you may want to check back at your analytics to November time to see if there were any substantial changes to your image search traffic.
Alternate meanings. Google added that it made improvements to the images and categories it uses for alternate meanings of words. The obvious example Google presented was jaguar, which can be the animal, sports team, car manufacturer or others.
Google previously added a menu at the top to let you filter based on those alternate meanings and better narrow down the search results to what you are looking for.
Here are the examples of this:
As a reminder, there are also buttons that may appear atop image search results that allow anyone to refine a query to a particular meaning, such as to easily focus images to be about jaguars, the animals…. pic.twitter.com/4KJtLunsBp
Why we care. If your site depends on Google Images for traffic, you may have already noticed changes to your traffic back in November. Either way, this update is from a few months back and Google is now just announcing that it went live. Hopefully you fared well with this update.
Google launched it in order to provide a better set of diverse images for searchers when they use Google Image Search.
About The Author
Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.