Google is reportedly working on an image search feature that would let users create collections and save image results apparently for personal use like research.
Alex Chitu over at Google Operating System (an unofficial Google news blog) shares some source code he obtained from regular tipster Florian K., which includes references to functions like Collections, Notes, Folios, Clips and Groups.
Chitu suggests that the feature could integrate with Google profiles, and that it looks like, despite the "notes" reference, it wouldn't add images to Google Keep, Google's recently launched notepad app. He also comparisons to an old Bing feature, which let users save images and the old Google Notebook.
Google launched Notebook back in 2006. It was described as a "way for users to save and organize their thoughts when conducting research online." This is pretty much a void that can easily be filled by Google Drive, and even Google Keep.
Google recognized that Notebook wasn't really needed a couple years ago. In one of its rounds of Spring cleaning (actually in the fall of 2011), Google announced that it would shut down Notebook. This was part of the same announcement that revealed the demise of Aardvark, Google Desktop, Sidewiki and some other things. Eventually, Notebook was officially shut down in July of last year with data transitioning over to Google Docs.
It's unclear whether this image collections feature is just something Google is testing, or if it's even closer to an actual product than that. It's also unclear why Google would feel the need to launch such a product now.
We've reached out to Google for comment, and will update if we hear back.