Googling for images is a phenomenon of the digital age, where facts and figures are just a Google search away. It’s an excellent way to study and learn about topics that you’re interested in, or simply find inspiration for your own projects.
But what if you could make Google Images even more useful? If you’ve ever tried searching for images online, chances are you’ll have noticed that Google doesn’t always manage to find the results you were looking for. The search engine sometimes returns irrelevant results (usually because of image metadata), or fails to return any relevant hits at all.
Did you know there are over 200 different searches you can do on Google Images?
For example: Did you know that some search types will give you less-cropped images than others? Did you know that some searches will be better at finding images with a certain kind of background or color scheme? Do you know which search types to use in which situation?
If you want to take control of your image searches, here are 6 super useful Google Image search advance tricks that will help you out in a pinch:
- Use commas to refine your image search
- Search for rectangles instead of rectangle
- Try a negative search
- Bump up your accuracy with semantic searches
- Finding video clips and live streams
- Use Google’s advanced search
Use commas to refine your image search
A comma is like a semicolon in written language; it separates two independent clauses. In the context of Google Image Search, commas will act as a filter that applies a specific condition to your search. Once you’re in the Google Images search box, begin typing in your search term, and a list of related terms will appear below.
If any of those related terms are relevant to your search, add a comma to your search terms and separate them with a space (no need to put the commas inside quotation marks). If you want to find images relating to sports games, typing in “Sports games” will return a ton of images, most of which will have nothing to do with sports. However, adding a comma after “Sports games” will filter out irrelevant results. As a result, you won’t end up with thousands of results that are unrelated to your search.
Search for rectangles instead of rectangle
If you want to search for a rectangular image, typing in rectangle will likely return a lot of images that are completely unrelated to your search. So, you’ll need to be a little more specific with your search. Try searching for “rectangle”, since Google’s image search algorithm understands that this is a more general term.
Another way to find what you’re looking for is to search for “square”; this will help you find images of, yes, squares. Failing that, you can also try searching for “box”, “boxed”, “crate”, or “cask”, which are all different ways of describing the same thing. You can use any of the following terms to search for a rectangular image: rectangle, square, box, boxed, crate, cask, tub, vessel, tank, cylinder, and drum.
Try a negative search
Typing “-blue -color” into the advanced search will return images with the word blue in them, but they will be of a different color. You can also search for “-white -pink” to find images with white or pink in them, but not blue. A variation on this is “-dogs -cats”.
This will exclude images that have both dogs and cats in them, but it will include images with only one or the other. You can also use “+dogs +cats” to filter for images that contain both.
Bump up your accuracy with semantic searches
Semantic searches are image searches that are more specific and accurate. This is because they use the surrounding context of the image to figure out what the image is actually about. To do this, you need to put your search terms inside quotation marks.
This will ensure that Google takes the surrounding context into account when searching for images. Let’s say you’re trying to find an image of a Lamborghini. Typing “Lamborghini” will return images of both the car and the Italian city. However, if you surround your search terms in quotation marks, the search engine will know that you’re only looking for the car.
Finding video clips and live streams
If you’re looking for video clips or live streams, you can use the “Web” type like so: In this example, we searched for “Robots in Space,” a podcast produced by NASA Ames Research Center. While you can use Image Search to find still images and static content, it’s much less effective for finding dynamic content and live events. If you want to search for video clips, or live streams, use the “Web” type.
Use Google’s advanced search
Google’s advanced search is a powerful feature that you should always keep in mind while searching. You can use it to filter your image search in a variety of different ways. You can use the advanced search to filter by image size, color, type of image (like a graph, chart, or map), source (like a website or article), and more.
You can also use the advanced search to filter by licensing, which will be a helpful feature if you’re looking for images for commercial use. You can also use the advanced search to filter by topic, which is helpful if you’re looking for specific images relating to a specific topic. You can also use the advanced search to filter by source, which is helpful if you’re looking for images from a specific source.
Finding high resolution images
One of the best things about Google Image Search is that you can often find very high resolution images, suitable for printing and/or wall art! The only drawback is that you’re not always sure exactly which images are high resolution and which aren’t. That’s where the “All types” and “Images only” searches come in handy! If you want to search for high resolution images, but you don’t want to wade through low resolution images, logos, and other non-image types, use “Images only” like so:
Many people are looking for high-quality images for either their businesses or their blogs. If the image you’re looking for isn’t of high enough resolution, it can cause problems with your blog’s design and usability.
- One way to make sure you find what you are looking for is by searching for images with the keyword “high resolution”.
- Another way is to search for “HD” or “1080p”. Keep in mind that you may need to click through a few search results to find the image you are looking for.
Finding an image’s original source
This is one of our favorite Google Image Search tricks! If you want to find the original source of an image, but you don’t want to click around dozens of image sources to find it, you can use the “Source” search type like so:
In this example, we’re looking for the original source of the “Mona Lisa,” one of the most famous and well known paintings of all time. If you’re interested in learning more about the painting, or where to find a high quality digital copy of it, this is the perfect way to do it!
Finding a specific object within an image
If you’re looking for a specific object within an image, you can use the “Tools” type like so: In this example, we’re looking for the car sitting on the left side of the image. You can also use the “Tools” type to find objects that are outside the image frame. This is great if you’re looking for a specific type of background, like a sandy beach, concrete sidewalk, etc.
Finding the best quality version of an image
If you’re looking for the best quality version of an image, use the “Size” type like so: In this example, we searched for the NASA Mars 2020 Rover. As you can see, Google shows you the different sizes each image appears in, along with their corresponding file sizes. If you’re looking for a specific image size, or you want to know which image resolution is the highest quality, this is the type to use!
Finding the most recent version of an image
If you want to find the most recent version of an image, use the “Age” type like so: In this example, we searched for Leonardo da Vinci. You can use this type to find the newest version of an image. For example, if you’re writing an article about a recent sports victory, and you want to use a photo of the winning team, you want the most recent image you can find. The “Age” type will show you the newest version of any given image.
Images are an essential part of digital communication. But finding images that are appropriate, relevant to your needs, and correctly licensed can be a challenge. When it comes to Google Image Search, there are a few advance tricks that will help you find what you need and avoid unnecessary complications.
Google is a great resource for image and information searches, but with these advance tricks, you can make your searches even more efficient.
Now you know how to use commas, shape searches, negative searches, and semantic searches to refine your image searches, and use Google’s advanced search to increase accuracy. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding exactly what you need.