Tips & more

Use Google to easier find images on Twitter

Google image search lets you fix the most irritating things when trying to find images directly on Twitter.

You can find images on Twitter by typing a search phrase and selecting “Photos” tab.

However, the native Twitter image search is a fail.

The problem with Twitter image search

  • Images are cropped to fit fixed horizontal proportions. Horizontal images that slightly exceed the defined proportions are also being cropped.
  • To see the full content of square or vertical images, you will have to open them in a separate view.
  • Twitter image search doesn’t focus on images at all. There is still 80% of text on the page, with heavy sidebars, and tweets in full length.
  • In the “Photos” search, you will see the most popular results, not the latest ones. But if you click on “Latest,” you will see all tweets, not only the images.
  • Images are cropped to a horizontal frame what makes them similar to preview images from link tweets. When you click on an image, you never know whether you enlarge it or visit a webpage it represents.

Why use Google for Twitter image search?

Google image web search is not only easier to use. There are a few other benefits.

The same images are not being repeated — some Twitter users use the same image over and over again. In Twitter image search you see it over and over again. In Google, most of the repeated images are being hidden.

Images are not being cropped – you can immediately see the proportions of the image.

Images are the main focus – the text is limited to first lines. It’s text that is cropped, not images.

You can search images from a single Twitter user – in my opinion, it’s the biggest benefit of using Google for Twitter image search. You can use the Twitter user’s profile url address. For instance, to search tweets from Tom Gauld (my favorite cartoonist, @tomgauld on Twitter), I use the url twitter.com/tomgauld.

Advanced search on Google is better than on Twitter – you can easily find the latest images, or use the extended list of Google search operators.

How to find images on Twitter using Google web search

1. Go to Google Web search and use the “site” operator combined with Twitter domain and followed by a search phrase.

For instance, to find infographics on Twitter, paste this text into the search field:

site:twitter.com infographic

You can also use the url address of a single Twitter user to find all images that the user has tweeted.

For instance, if I want to find cartoons from Tom Gauld (@tomgauld) that are related to books, I use the phrase:

site:twitter.com/tomgauld book

2. By default, Google shows results as a list. Click “Images” right under the Omnibox to turn on the image search.

For phrases that are highly connected with image search, such as “infographic,” you can also click on “View all” button under the row of image thumbnails.

Twitter image search with Google web search

3. You now see a clean, decluttered wall of image, with as little text as possible.

Click on any of them to see it enlarged to the size that’s high enough to see the content. Hover over the image to see its original dimensions.

4. Control+click on an image to see a list of commands.

  • Select “Open Image in New Tab” to see the image file in full resolution.
  • Select “Search Google for Image” to perform reverse image search – find it in better resolution, find a webpage of the original author, or find a webpage where it was first published.
Easily find and manage Twitter images with Google web search

5. Use “Tools” to narrow down the results. Advanced search is much easier on Google than on Twitter.

  • Click “Tools” and then “Time” to quickly find the latest images, for instance the ones published in the last 24 hours.
  • Click “Tools” and “Type” to find a relevant image format, for instance gif or line drawing.

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