Google tweaked its Google Image results a few weeks ago. In addition to adding what it calls an endless page of results, you also get a slightly different interface for viewing the results. Clicking on an image – instead of taking you to the page the image is on, or just the image itself – you’re instead brought to an intermediate page which shows the image, kind of floating above the website (grayed-out and inaccessible), with image info on the right. It’s a nice change, and I like it, but tonight I found a brand-new extension for Google Chrome – called GoMBoX – that makes browsing through Google Image search results even better.
There’s nothing to set up with GoMBoX. Once it’s installed, you’re ready to go. Simply perform a search with Google Images. At first there is no apparent change, but when you click on an image the changes start becoming obvious. Instead of being taken to the intermediate page mentioned above, you get a larger, floating image over the Google Images search results page. Below the image are three buttons, labeled “view page,” “view image” and “Donate.” The first shows you the original page where the image was located, the second shows you just the image itself, and the third takes you to PayPal (the first two options appear in a new tab, while the PayPal Donate button is in the same tab).
If you’re still on the original Google Images results page, viewing the larger preview image, there are in addition two “tabs” located one on each side of the browser window. These tabs, when clicked, will move you through the results in the same lightbox fashion, which makes for a very nice viewing experience, and a far easier navigation method than the default Google Search. You can also hit the space bar to move ahead by one image (although I haven’t discovered the keyboard command to move back, if this indeed exists).
And that, in a nutshell, is what GoMBoX does. It doesn’t try to take over your page or give you an entirely new viewing experience (like Cooliris does, although Cooliris is admittedly very nice, if a bit of a resource hog). It just tweaks a couple things, which in my view make using Google Image search that much better. What’s really nice is that I liked Google Image search before. I had no problems with it and liked the changes. But the small tweaks GoMBoX has made to the experience are the kind of changes where you just go, “duh, how obvious!” and wonder why they weren’t a part of the experience in the first place. Because of that, GoMBoX is an extension I would recommend to anyone. It just makes sense.