Google News Image Version Is Interesting, Vague

    June 26, 2007

Hate words, but want to stay well-informed?  Well, my apologies for this article, then, but Google News may have just the thing for you – an Image Version.

Rows upon rows of pictures correspond to normal Google News stories; these pictures (sometimes) give you an idea of what an article’s about, and two or three words beneath the photos (occasionally) help in this matter.

Once you hover over an image, an explanatory paragraph scrolls into view on the right side of your screen, and if you click on either the picture or the paragraph, Google sends you off to the original story.

Unfortunately, learning about 25 stories may take as many as 25 mouse movements.  I had no idea, for example, that the photo of a pointing hand would correspond to a story titled, “Ex-EPA Chief Defends Air Safety Assurances After 9/11.”  (The “Ex-EPA Chief D…” displayed beneath that hand didn’t help much.)

And anyone prone to motion sickness might want to be careful.  “I kinda like it But .. the side scrolling when mousing over the image made me feel a little ill,” writes Dave Naylor.

Yet despite these problems, the Google News Image Version is pretty clever.  Ionut Alex Chitu notes, “The new version is available for search results as well and it’s easy to toggle between the standard view, the image view and a simplified version.”