Get Back The Old Google Image Search With a URL Trick

A few days ago, Google revamped their image search page by adding some cool features. The new Google image search provides a dense cloud of thumbnails which lets you look at lot of images at once. Just hover over an image and you are shown a greater sized thumbnail including the link to the website containing the image at the bottom.

Another feature worth noting is the automatic page scrolling, you scroll to the bottom of the page and the next search result page is loaded automatically in the same page. This is quite useful when are unable to find the perfect image and want to view more results quickly.

If you ask me, I am not quite comfortable with the newer design of Google Image search. The first annoyance is the automatic thumbnail preview, moving the mouse across the screen results in random thumbnails being shown. This can be a bit distracting, considering the fact that you prefer simpler things. Since I hardly look into deeper search result pages, the automatic page scrolling is again not required.

If you want to revert to the older image search interface of Google Images, you can click the “Switch to basic version” link at the bottom of the page.

However, here is another simple URL hack which will let you use the older Google image search layout. Just add &sout=1 in the search result URL and hit the return key.

That’s it, the older interface of Google Image search is back again.

Thanks to Lifehacker for the tip.

Published by

Amit Banerjee

Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

  • TheAleks

    clicking the "switch to basic" button only works while your on that page, as soon as you click and image(which loads the new format with the hovering image) it reverts back to the new format. and when it loads 80 pages of images it can take us a while to get to the button.

    as for the URL trick, when you click an image it loads the new image view page with the hovering images.

    i hate google now. they already killed youtube and now are doing away with the rest of google.

    • dagoz

      Google was the best search engine ever, I repeat was. They have forgotten about you and I, the users, to chase dollars. This kind of mentality will be their undoing. Oops, my grammar is rubbish.

  • Yay! Thank you for this. All the constant change really irks me. Just as you get used to the way things work, they go and change it again. I know it is all in the name of evolution, but surely they can make the changes behind the scenes, and not in the user interface?

  • I don't understand all the complaints. I found the new Image Search to be a big improvement. Do people really expect a website or service to remain the exact same year after year? Just get used to it or find a more basic image search. I guess with any change people will find something to whine about.

    • @ALC: Yes it's a big improvement, but some of the users may prefer the older version. For them, the URL trick will come handy. Thanks for the comment.

    • Egir

      You see, people use Google because it's, well, usable, not because they are trying for something cool. Did it need fixing? No, things were good, easy to use. Why change it? Google didn't have competition in its image searches anyway. It was the best, easiest to use and richest resource. Now it's not.

      First, it's absolutely chaotic, and exhaustive for the eyes, especially if you're elderly, or wear glasses. (Even I, being 29, and with a 20/20 eyesight found it quite tiring.) Meaning – bad marketing move.

      Secondly, it's more time-consuming, since now you have to waste valuable time hovering over each thumbnail to see and compare information previously in plain sight. Meaning – bad development move.

      And in any case, if you're happy, why can't thousands of other users be happy as well? Why make this a permanent default and not spend a few seconds (and zero dinero!) and provide a settings option for those many users who want to keep it basic? What's more, why put the temporary "revert to basic look" button AT THE BOTTOM, so that in order to use is one has to wait for the entire gallery to load?

      Meaning – both bad development AND bad web administration.

      Changes for the sake of change are just plain stupid. If you don't have something new that really makes a difference, stay where you are, don't just copy "blink-blank-what's its name" and call it an update.

      • @Egir: I would strongly disagree with your thought.

        See, every individual has their own demands, the things that you don't like may be useful for others and vice versa. The men at Google are not fool, they must have researched and experimented the features, they must have found positive results and then they decided to implement it. It's not a decision made without any reason.

        Yes, the older interface was simpler to me as well…but consider the millions of people who use Google Image search everyday. Thanks for the comment

        • Astrolounge

          I agree with Egir. I have the same complaints with the new look. Especially the fact they don't just let you set the layout you want as a preference.
          "consider the millions of people who use Google Image search everyday" I have, and I don't see the issue. How does forcing me to load all of the images in the search at once, when I'm only likely to look at the first MAYBE three pages worth? Surely that's more taxing on the site? If you're referring to people that just like the new layout, then what's wrong with the option of just making it a setting?

        • Duncan

          Amit, do you remember *why* google became so popular in the first place? I'm beginning to think that they themselves don't remember. The day their search engine homepage hit our screens was like a breath of fresh air, after putting up with the bloated offerings that preceded it.

          I predict that if google stays on this course then a new and young company will do to them what they did to their predecessors, and deliver something quick, efficient, clean, simple and relevant.

  • GglSx

    it seems to me that google doesnt know this rule: if its not broken dont fix it

  • Melissa

    You, sir, are my hero. I hate the new image search soooo much.

  • carol

    i hate this me google….can’t find anything. Do even want to get on computer anymore its so hard….pleaseeeeeeeeee help us change it back….thanks

  • Nomen Nescio

    The ‘new and improved’ image search is an utter customer focus disaster. Since when did loading *more* images on a page result in *less* clutter? May I add, this effectively means ‘loading thumbnails until the browser fails’ (!), which totally defeats the purpose of the page anyway. To top things off, the user is not even given any choice permanently get rid of this monstrosity. Only by using hacks or–if they are lucky their browser does NOT crash–loading a page with literally thousands(!!) of Java-powered thumbnails only to *temporarily* switch to the Basic Version, can the customer get at a usable interface. This is an extremely amateurish move by a major company. I possess no word in any language that could articulate how embarrassingly stupid this is.

  • I actually do like the new design but find it lack of informations where the old look is much better.
    Just guess that the new one fit the new style that also go for organic and adwords now. Here I’m thinking of Google instant preview which could be irritating as well but I find this fighting the spam a bit which I do welcome!
    Nevertheless thanks for the trick :-)