It's been more than seven months since Google Images got rid of some of its most useful search parameters, to the dismay of many. While we first hoped the change could be a bug or temporary, it's now become clear that this was an intentional decision on Google's side. Every few days, I go looking for the "exact size" or "larger than" search options, then quickly remember that they've disappeared and switch into one of my backup plans. In this post, I'll look at the different parameters that Google removed and how you can replicate their functionality in various ways.

Missing image search parameters

Five different search filters were removed last year from Google Images. These were accessible, like all other parameters, when you clicked on Tools under the search bar. Under Size, both Larger than and Exact size have disappeared. Under Color, the Full color option is gone. And finally, under Type, you won't find Face or Photo anymore.

A sixth parameter for File type hasn't been visible for a while. It narrows your search by format, say GIF or PNG, for example.

New image search filters look pretty meager.

Find images larger than a certain size

If you're looking for high-resolution images, your current best user-facing option is Size -> Large, which brings up laughably small images that can be anywhere from 900x900 and above. That's not our modern-day definition of a "large" image. There are two ways to circumvent this and find really large images.

Method 1: Advanced search

Go to google.com/advanced_image_search and use the detailed search boxes there to perform your search. One of them is Image size and it lets you pick a specific minimum for your results, ranging from 400x300 and up to 20, 40, and even 70 megapixels.

Above: Choosing a larger size in Advanced image search. Bottom: Results.

Method 2: URL parameter

If you don't want to bother with the advanced search site, you can append &tbs=isz:lt,islt:2mp to the Images URL result and reload the page. 2mp is the minimum size and can be replaced by 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 40, and 70mp.

Results for images larger than 6MP bring up really big photos.

Method 3: Chrome extension

If you don't mind using a third-party extension to simplify this whole process, Advanced Image Search will help you do everything you want with a couple of clicks. Once installed in Chrome, the extension's icon sits in your toolbar. It functions like a URL generator basically, offering all the options included in Google's advanced page, but in an easier to reach and remember place. To get images larger than a certain size, type the keyword you're looking for in the search text box, and select the minimum in the sizes drop-down. They're the same options as Google's, obviously. Click find and the search with all your parameters will open in a new tab.

Using the Advanced Image Search extension in Chrome to quickly get large images.

Find images of an exact size

If you're looking for an exact image size — say for a wallpaper for example — and you don't want the margin to be off by one pixel in any direction, you need to do a search by exact size. Again, there are two methods here, one easy and one a little harder.

Method 1: Search operator

When you're typing your search query in Google Images, add imagesize:300x300 right after the word you're looking for. 300x300 are the exact width and height dimensions in pixels, respectively, and can be replaced by any numbers you want.

Search results for "android police imagesize:300x300" include a lot of icons from our articles.

Method 2: URL parameter

Again, there's a URL trick to do this one too. In this case, after you perform your keyword search, append &tbs=isz:ex,iszw:2000,iszh:1000 to the URL and reload it. 2000 and 1000 are the exact width and height dimensions, respectively, and can be replaced with any numbers you want.

Above: A search for 1440x2880 images on our site returns screenshots. Below: 728x410 returns hero images mostly.

Method 3: Chrome extension

The Advanced Image Search extension we mentioned above also offers an exact size option. Make sure the parameters for aspect ratio and sizes are cleared, to avoid any interference, then enter the width and height in the exact size boxes and click find. Again, this will quickly open the Google Images page in a new tab with the exact search you were looking for.

Finding images of an exact size with the Chrome extension. 

Use other missing search parameters

If you want to use the other missing search filters, like File format to find GIFs, Full color to remove black and white images from results, Face to only get images with faces in them, and Photo to only get proper photos and not cliparts or vectors, you need to use the advanced search methods we talked about earlier. Again, go to google.com/advanced_image_search or open the Chrome extension if you installed it, and you'll find those three filters in the options under colors, types, and file format.

Above: Advanced image search for "apple" with faces in full color. Below: Results.

If you're used to filtering down your Google Images searches and don't want to lose one or any of the options, I recommend you start by bookmarking the advanced image search site. It's Google's official solution and will bring you back most of the missing parameters without you having to remember any tricks. The only one remaining is exact size, and for that, knowing the "imagesize:" search operator seems to be the easiest solution.

Otherwise, the Advanced Image Search extension does everything we want and is quickly accessible. Plus, it's open source, requires no special permissions or site access, and doesn't seem to use any resources or leave any lingering processes in the background. As far as extensions go, it's one of the cleanest and simplest ones, and it does its job as needed.

Additionally, if, like me, you're a huge fan of custom search engines in Chrome, and you're used to manipulating URLs to get what you want, you can easily create several search engines that give you larger than or exact size searches for the resolutions and dimensions you most frequently use — your computer display(s) for example.

And to be clear, we don't know how long these tricks will keep on doing their job properly. Just like it removed the filters from the consumer-facing interface, Google could at any time shut down the URL parameters or remove the different options from its advanced search site, and we'll have no other recourse.

More methods added

This post has been updated with more current information. The Advanced Image Search extension method was also added. We looked into other suggestions shared by our readers over the months, but we found this to be the most complete and least intrusive third-party option of all. Thanks, Kevin!