Do You Even Google, Bro?

May 23, 2018

Whether you’re populating a new business pitch with images or searching for the perfect Michael Scott gif to include in your extremely productive all-office email, finding the right image on Google is a struggle. Let me clarify. Searching for images on Google obviously couldn’t be any easier. But when you have the entire Internet’s repository of pictures at your fingertips, finding the right image can be a challenge. To help ease any potential picture-perusing problems (fair warning: I refuse to apologize for excessive alliteration), I’ve compiled a handful of helpful tips designed to grow your Googling game.

Size Matters
One of the most common challenges with images pulled from the Internet relates to file size. Generally speaking, anything within the 1-50 KB range will be largely unusable, 50-250 KB should do in a pinch, and 250+ KB will inevitably give you the best bang for your Google buck. Disclaimer: these file sizes relate mostly to raster-based file types like jpegs and pngs. In contrast, vector-based file types such as eps or svg’s will almost always generate a smaller file size because of how they are rendered. If size is an issue for your images, here are two ways you can quickly improve your image search results.

Specify File Size
Google provides you with the option to filter your image search results by size right from the jump. Simply select the “Tools” button displayed below the search bar and activate the “Size” dropdown and choose your desired filter size. This can be effective but will eliminate quite a few of your image options, depending on how selective you get.

Search By Image
Did you find an image you like but it’s the wrong size? Give this a shot. Click and drag your image of choice toward the top of your browser and place it directly in the image search bar.

Doing so will generate an image-specific results page that will catalogue additional sizes of that particular image. Additionally, your new results page will display a variety of “visually similar images” for you to browse, just in case that first image wasn’t the one you were hoping for.

Accuracy By Association
If you’re getting a lot of close-but-not-quite-right images in your search results, my first suggestion would be to refine your search terms. However, if you Google things like I do, you likely don’t have the exact words for what you’re looking for when you begin your search. If that’s the case, I recommend making use of the “related images” results that typically populate alongside a selected image. This approach will make it easier to search for more subjective qualities like visual style, emotional tone and theme.

Transparency Is Key
If you’re looking to find an image of a product or person with a cropped background, try introducing “transparent background” or “png” to the back half of your search terms. Png file formats are the most likely file type to have a transparent background included in their structure. This technique won’t work all the time but it never hurts to try. And after all, Google searches are free!

I hope that these best practices help to generate more positive search results and, if nothing else, your use of Michael Scott images skyrocket. Happy hunting!