Google Images adds 'sort by subject' feature

For when you know what you want but you don't know its name

Quiz time: Name the world's most famous clock.

Stumped? (And I'm not suggesting that you are; just play along.)

(Microsoft buying Skype for $8.5B)

Here's a hint: London, England.

I can see you're still stumped (we're playing, remember). You can picture that bloody clock in your mind's eye but can't conjure up the name? And you need that picture in your mind's eye to be a picture in pixels on your computer screen, so this isn't funny.

Well, Google has you covered with a new Google Images feature called "sort by subject," which the company announced in a blog post this morning. From that post:

When you're searching for images, sometimes it can be hard to come up with exactly the right words to describe what you have in mind. For example, when you think of London, you might picture the iconic clock tower or the big Ferris wheel. You may not always remember the names of those landmarks, but you can visualize them in your mind. To make it easier for you to find images in situations like these, you can now use Google Images with sorting.

When you search for [london], by default you'll see image results ranked by relevance. Click on "Sort by subject" in the left-hand panel and you'll see images organized into categories that will narrow down your search and help you find the exact image of London that you want.

Sorting by subject shows that some of the most popular images associated with London are the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the city at night. This organized view helps you find the images you were visualizing more quickly, so you might realize, "Ah, that big clock tower is called Big Ben, that's what I was looking for." You can then can click on the Big Ben group to find the best image within that subject group.

There is more detail -- and more plausible uses -- in the video below.

I wanted to try "sort by subject" myself - was looking for a picture of that baseball park in Boston - but the rollout of the new feature has yet to hit us here in Massachusetts.

The name is right on the tip of my tongue, too; begins with an "F" maybe.

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