The origin story of Google Images is a bit unusual and, believe it or not, can be traced all the way back to the iconic green dress Jennifer Lopez wore at the February 2000 Grammy Awards. In the hours and days following the event, the number of searches for Lopez’ dress absolutely skyrocketed, with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt a few years ago noting: “At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen.”
The problem, though, was that Google’s search results at the time were nothing more than a collection of links. In turn, Schmidt and Google’s search time quickly realized that they had “no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted.” And so, Google Images was born.
Since then, Google Images — much like anything search-related Google does — has improved by leaps and bounds. Bolstered by any number of search filters, Google Images has long been the easiest way for users to find the exact type of photo they’re looking for.
Recently, though, Google inexplicably implemented a few changes to the Google Images UI that actually makes finding specific photos far more challenging.
Originally brought to light via the Google subreddit, users can no longer search for images posted in between two specific dates. What’s more, users cannot even search for photos for a time frame longer than a year. Unfortunately, Google’s most recent move is the latest in a string of curious design decisions that seem to complicate what should be a simple image search.
This is not the first set of filter buttons Google has removed from the image search engine this year: Last month, the company removed the ability for users to filter results by “minimum size,” “exact size,” and “full color.” These feature buttons, however, are still available in “advanced search.” Custom date range is not yet available as a button within advanced search.
Of course, there are ways to manually search for what you’re looking for. As a quick example, if you’re looking for a 500×500 picture of Lebron James, you can type the following into Google Images: Lebron James imagesize:500×500. This, however, is clearly not a solution for average users and it remains unclear what Google is intending to achieve by seemingly removing features from its otherwise helpful search feature.