Google has a new option called “search by photos” boxes on selected local verticals. For now, this feature is only available on mobiles, and it isn’t similar to “interesting finds” or “discover more places,” which are also photo-centric boxes on search engines.
As you can see above, the results are for the search term “tacos near me.” You can see that the “search by photos” appears below the local pack and other organic results. However, in some cases, the photobox appeared right below the local pack. Each of the images that show up in the photobox shows a star rating and the distance from the user. When users click on any of these photos, they are taken to the respective GMB profiles.
Additionally, there is also an option to open more photos, that will display a page full of images from different listings. Users can then click on the “view list” to get more information and scroll through multiple listings available.
However, it should be noted that the “search by photos” feature is not available across all the local verticals. For example, these photoboxes were missing for searches related to plumbers, architects, and lawyers. This makes it unclear whether Google is simply testing this feature or rolling out a new element for mobile SERP. It’s also unsure whether the feature will be rolled out for the desktop version as well. Sometimes, the listings in the local pack and photobox correspond, and sometimes, they don’t.
Local business profiles with optimized images outperform the ones that don’t have them. The “search by photos” feature gives rise to yet another argument of building a complete GMB profile with lots of images. It puts into focus the importance of having professional photos for every major menu item and product category for all businesses.
The new update comes merely a day after Google announced that user-generated images will feature in Google Shopping Product Reviews.