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Windows Live Image Search

UPDATE: Added screenshots.

Yet another Windows Live service rolled out today is Windows Live Image Search, which was one of the most impressive things I saw at Search Champs. You can’t get it at search.live.com, but it works just fine if you sign into live.com and search from there (thanks to Stu for pointing that out for me).

In all honesty, the best way to explain what makes Live Image Search so great is just to use it, but I’ll elaborate. Images has a similar interface to the new Live Search. You get two sliders, one to adjust the size of results, and one for “infinite scroll”.

However, this being image search, adjusting the size of results is a huge deal, altering the size of the image thumbnails almost instantly. There are six size levels. On my 1280×800 screen, here’s what I got, from largest to smallest:

  • 12 images of a 156×156 size
  • 12 at 136×136
  • 21 at 116×116
  • 24 at 96×96
  • 36 at 76×76
  • 44 at 56×56

The largest size:

Live Image results big
Click to enlarge

The smallest size:

Live Image results small
Click to enlarge

So many people are going to love the ability to see 44 images at once.

But wait, there’s more.

Images’ interface is very clean; no filenames, no file data, no URL data. The reason: You see that data when you hover over an image. You can view your 44 tiny images because, when you roll the mouse over them, they fly forward, expand to the full 156×156 size, and give you plenty of information:

  • File name
  • Dimensions
  • File Size
  • Website URL
  • Links to open the result or get feedback

Live Image popover

But wait, there’s more.

You may wonder why the hover box contains a link to open the result. That’s because when you click on the image, you get the preview interface. Now, most image search engines use a preview that seperates the page in a frame, which the top frame having a thumbnail and info, and the bottom having the original webpage.

Not Live Images. Their preview page doesn’t take you out of the interface. Hell, it doesn’t even take away the search results. The search results are pushed to a sidebar on the left side of the screen, while the rest of the interface has the page preview.

Live Image preview
(click to enlarge)

The advantage of this, besides not looking as ugly as other engines, is that if you don’t have the image you want, you don’t have to hit Back; you just scroll through the results and find what you’re looking for, and click to preview that. This may be the best feature of the entire thing, and the biggest reason I’ll be using Live instead of Google Images in the future.

Oh, I might add, all my screenshots are from Firefox, since I can’t get Live.com to work in IE 7 yet. Yup, all this goodness works in FF just perfectly. Gotta like that.

But wait, there’s more…

March 8th, 2006 Posted by | General, Live, Search, Windows | 2 comments



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2 Comments »

  1. It’s a bit slow for my taste. Hah, I could fit 136 small images on my 24″. Oh, and despite the filter’s best efforts, I found nudity.

    Comment by Devin Reams | March 8, 2006

  2. Windows Live Search, with Macros!…

    The Windows Live news just keep coming….this time it’s Windows Live Search, with Macros!
    Nathan over……

    Trackback by Alex Barnett blog | March 9, 2006

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