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New Image Filters- Animations & Transparency Search Engine Showdown


After so many Google features and products have gone to the Google Graveyard, it is nice to see new search features made available. gimage-anim.pngYesterday, Google announced on G+ that two new image search filters have been introduced: animations and transparent backgrounds. The filters are available both on the Google Advanced Image Search page (a pleasant change in that the advanced search pages have been hidden and ignored of late) and as Search Tools filters on image search. The screenshot from the advanced search shows both. The Transparent option is available under the Search Tools “Any color” drop down menu and on the advanced search “colors in image” choices. It restrict results to those with a transparent background.

The Animated filter is available under the Search Tools “Any type” drop down menue and on the advanced search “type of image” option. It restricts results to animated gifs. I have found this ability to limit to animated gifs useful at times. PicSearchWith the resurgent interest in animated gifs at Tumblr and other image intensive sites, there are many being created again, and so Google has added a way to find just animated gifs.

Previously, the only other option I have found for finding animated images are the old PicSearch (which has an “animation” filter on the left after running a search) and the newer Giphy (which is more limited to searching by tag and covers a much smaller selection of images). I am amazed that PicSearch, which seems relatively unknown with low traffic, has continued to be available for all these years and still offers the animation limit.

Google has a much larger databases that Giphy or PicSearch, so the ability to search its larger database and to be able to restrict to animated gifs or images with transparent backgrounds is a nice new feature. I expect that I’ll use bother several times a year, so for me they will not be common search features, but nice to have when I need them. The thumbnails in the search results display are not animated. However, clicking on an animated result will open an inline image display, and (if you wait long enough) the image within that dark grey inline display will start its animation.

There are two main types of animated gifs. The older ones were mostly clip art style animations, and often smaller dimensions to keep the file size small. Many of the newer ones are larger, pixel-dense photos, and thus are more larger file sizes. Since the animation limit is under the type section, there does not seem to be a way to combine “animation” with either “photo” or “clip art” for further narrowing by type.

One interesting side note for me when writing this post, is that I was reminded how to link to an individual Google+ post. There is no obvious URL or permalink or “link to this post” type of link, and the share to arrow only works when logged in (and even then only shares on G+). But if you do want to link directly to a public Google+ posting like this one, just click the time stamp at the top, right after the user name. However, that URL (in this case, contains a long number in the middle that if you paste it into another browser will redirect to a shorter, more-friendly URL containing the user name ( for this one).

And yes, it has been a long time since I have posted here, but other project have gotten in the way. I hope to start posting more frequently but time will tell how well I live up to that hope.



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