Google Images

Take a break from text-crawling and check out Google Images (, an index of over 390 million images available on the Web. While sorely lacking in special syntaxes [Section 1.5], the Advanced Image Search ( does offer some interesting options.


Of course, any options on the Advanced Image Search page can be expressed via a little URL hacking [Hack #9].

Google’s image search starts with a plain keyword search. Images are indexed under a variety of keywords, some broader than others; be as specific as possible. If you’re searching for cats, don’t use cat as a keyword unless you don’t mind getting results that include “cat scan.” Use words that are more uniquely cat-related, like feline or kitten. Narrow down your query as much as possible, using as few words as possible. A query like feline fang, which would get you over 3,000 results on Google, will get you no results on Google Image Search; in this case, cat fang works better. (Building queries for image searching takes a lot of patience and experimentation.)

Search results include a thumbnail, name, size (both pixels and kilobytes), and the URL where the picture is to be found. Clicking the picture will present a framed page, Google’s thumbnail of the image at the top, and the page where the image originally appeared at the bottom. Figure 2-2 shows a Google Images page.

Figure 2-2. A Google Images page

Searching Google Images can be a real crapshoot, ...

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