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The image search features of search engines like Google, Bing, and Ask.com work on a similar principle to their web search functions. Image searches use image names, URLs and surrounding text to locate images that may match the term being searched for. The coding of different search engines results in different results from one to the next, and the method in which results are displayed can vary greatly. Picking the best image search engine is largely a matter of personal taste as different users may prefer the features of one of the leading image search engines over others.
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Google Image Search
The Google image search feature is one of the most popular image search engines on the Internet, due in large part to Google's substantial portion of the search engine market. Google image searches provide a large number of results, and clicking on any of these results opens the page where the image is found with the image superimposed over it. While this allows searchers to easily view the image at a larger resolution, some users may not like the way that the image layer blocks them from viewing the page where the image is found until after the image has been closed.
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Bing Image Search
Bing, the search engine from Microsoft, should also be considered when looking for the best image search engine. The Bing image search provides a number of results, and when one is clicked it places a thumbnail of it in a frame above the webpage the image is found on. Basic information about the image is displayed in the frame as well, and other related image results are displayed beside the page for easy access. The biggest drawback to the Bing image search is the fact that some search terms may display fewer results than they would on Google or other search engines because Bing tries to constrain the results to the most relevant.
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Ask.com Image Search
Ask.com is another option to consider when trying to choose the best image search engine. The powerful Ask search engine displays a large number of results in order of relevancy to the entered search terms. Ask displays its image search results in a manner similar to Bing, opening the selected result's page in a new tab or window and using a frame to display a thumbnail of the viewed image along with information about the picture. Both the image URL and the page URL where the image is found is listed within the frame for easy reference. The main drawback to the Ask.com image search engine is the fact that Ask isn't as well-known of a search option as Google or Bing.
Image Credits: All screenshots by J. Edward Casteele, as is all copyrighted material contained within the images.