For years, Google has had a very simplistic image search layout and functionality and that hasn’t really changed much. However, it appears Google is changing things up in the past few days with what appears to be a massive rollout to web users across the globe.

Let’s take a look at the changes. 

The screen below shows an image search for “acura nsx”. This is the same basic layout of related image search suggestions at the top followed by relevant images below:

Obviously, the image search results returned doesn’t look any different than it has in recent memory; that is until you actually click on one of the images:

For any avid users of Google Images (I know you’re out there), you’ll notice a much different layout than what you’ve been accustomed to in the past.

Now when you click on an image within the search results, the image is immediately pushed to the right in a larger format with mobile-like image scrolling functionality; notably the left and right arrows in the upper right corner:

For those who may freak out because they don’t immediately see the “related images” function, you can relax. It hasn’t gone away.  It’s simply been pushed down below the image and related image information portion of the layout which forces users to go into hunt mode via vertical scrolling. 

Historically, when a user would click on an image, Google would spawn a popup-type browser layout with the image you clicked coupled with related images to the right where you could then scroll down and click on additional images from that popup browser window. Those days appear to be gone…maybe.

Does this affect mobile?

When evaluating image search on mobile, it doesn’t appear to have changed much at all in comparison to desktop — probably for good and obvious reasons (screen size):

Look, Google is notorious for rolling out “tests” with random users across the web and from what I’ve read on message boards and such, this particular layout is anything but new dating back months prior to writing this article. However, it appears that in the past 24 hours or so, users from around the world are now seeing this new layout. Reactions so far seem to be mixed… some people love it while others find themselves begging/demanding Google switch back to the original functionality.

Parting Note

Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Google does everything in their power to help prevent clicks to publisher sites to keep their audience on the engine and immersed in search results. After all, it’s in their best interest and in the interest of their shareholders to keep people clicking around search results.

Hate it or love it, Google is once again tinkering around in its machine and here at Lead to Conversion, we’re eager to see if this new layout is truly a global rollout. If so, we’re curious to see if it’s here to stay or if it will lose its staying power faster than a stick of Fruit Stripe gum.

P.S. If you aren’t seeing the new layout when doing an image search, please let us know and feel free to share screenshots!