Yahoo Increases Size of Image Database, New Features Added

Yahoo! has just announced an increase in size to their image database.

According to the company Yahoo! Images now contains more than 1.5 billion image files. This is the second publicly announced size increase to Yahoo Images in about 4 months. In October, Yahoo announced that their database had passed the one billion images mark. Earlier this month, Google announced that their image database contained more than 1.1 billion images. Let’s see if Google makes another move soon. This is beginning to remind me of the jockeying that took place with web index size counts a few years ago.

Along with increasing the size of the image database, Yahoo! has made a couple of new features available to searchers.

Transformed Queries
First, Yahoo Images now understands certain natural language “trigger” terms in an image search query to help focus the query without having to use the advanced search interface. Cool! For example, a search for “black and white pictures of New York” will return only black and white images. Here’s another example: wallpaper images of sunsets. I haven’t had much time to use this new feature but have found that it does work if your query includes:
+ color image(s) or picture(s0 of xxx
Note: “images of xxx color” doesn’t seem to work, the spelling colour does work, pic(s) will work instead of pictures
+ black and white image(s)/picture(s) of xxx
Note: bw also appears to work
+ wallpaper image(s)/picture(s) of xxx
+ small image(s)/picture(s) of xxx
+ medium image(s)/picture(s) of xxx
+ large image(s)/picture(s) of xxx

Inline Images

Second, up to four images will now be displayed inline on web search results pages if certain words (aka shortcuts) are included in the query. For example: pictures of Golden Gate Bridge or images of tigers or photos of flowers. A direct link to find more images is also provided. Btw, I’ve noticed that “transformed” query language discussed earlier appears to work in the web search box.

Ask Jeeves has offered a Smart Search shortcut that provides inline images for over a year. Google also offers inline images on web serp for certain queries. Using a shortcut term like “images” or “pictures” does not automatically mean images will be visible on Google web serp. When terms like images or pictures are used in a query, a link to “try Google images” is included on the page.

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