4 Image search engines compared

  • 2
  • July 26, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Image search is a fascinating subject and something that can drive a substantial amount of traffic to your website. For the past few months I’ve been using a Netvibes widget that allows you to compare image search results in a nice AJAX interface.

How they compare for iPhone

Lets see how the 4 compare for the iPhone image search:

iPhone on flickr

iPhone on Google

iPhone on Ask

iPhone on Yahoo

Google is the clear winner here. Flickr seems to be showing photos taken with an iPhone. Yahoo and Ask are way out of date.

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts on flickr

Matt Cutts on Google

Matt Cutts on Ask

Matt Cutts on Yahoo

Google and Yahoo are joint winners here. Ask has good results but appears to be distorting some of the images.


Paris on flickr

Paris on Google

Paris on Ask

Paris on Yahoo

The key with a search term like “paris” is to offer a variety of results. Some people might be looking for Paris Hilton, some may want images of Paris and some might want a map. This is where personalised search results would be useful.

The winners here are Ask and Google.

Blue Buy Now Button

Blue Buy Now Button on Google

Blue Buy Now Button on Ask

Blue Buy Now Button on Yahoo

Google results here are totally unrelated, Yahoo gets the colour almost right but the Ask results are amazing. Flickr had no results.

Red Buy Now Button

Red Buy Now Button on Google

Red Buy Now Button on Ask

Red Buy Now Button on Yahoo

Google has the colour right on this one, Yahoo does well with the first result but Ask is the winner again.


Image search engines are clearly very advanced. I was amazed at how well Ask handled the button search queries and will be using them in future to find web design graphics. Personalised results would improve the search results no end by removing Paris Hilton for people who had just been searching for flights to Paris for example.

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