A lot of people on Google Plus seem to post really detailed pictures – including you, Dave! – and I’m wondering if there’s any way to zoom in or see more details in the photos?
The combination of having the development teams from Google Image Search and Picasa has inspired the image team at Google Plus to offer all sorts of really cool features, many of which I think people don’t realize even exist. For example, upload a photo and Google Plus will automatically apply digital filters to enhance it, making the colors a bit more saturated, the contrast a bit higher, etc, depending on the image. Generally what I think happens is that people upload their pictures and don’t even realize that they’ve been “enhanced”. They just… look good.
In the same way, your suspicions are accurate and it turns out that if the image has been reduced in size to display on your screen, there’s an automatic zoom capability that’s available, though it’s typically subtle and non-intuitive (why, Google, do you have such good programmers and such mediocre user experience people on the team?)
To take advantage of this feature, when I post photos on Google Plus, I generally make them 1024 pixels wide or even wider: I know that they’ll be scaled down to fit people’s screens, but then there’s the possibility of zooming in to get a more detailed view.
For example, I recently took a photo of my games bookcase and posted it to Google+. It might have been the image you saw, actually! And it’s big. Big enough that the zoom feature is enabled…
Here’s the post in question:
Click on the image and you’ll be shown a larger version:
Look closely along the top. See the tiny magnifying glass? That’s what you want.
But rather than click on it, let’s just do what you’d think would work. Click on the image itself to zoom.
Yeah, that doesn’t work.
Click on the tiny white “x” on the top right and this time click on the magnifying glass icon.
That’s better! Notice on the left there’s the zoom interface box. The bottom portion is a horizontal zoom indicator, as you learn with a tiny bit of experimentation: slide it to the right and you zoom in more. Slide it left and you’re back to the original view.
So let’s zoom in as far as possible!
Notice now that the “view port” indicator becomes more relevant as we’ve zoomed in further.
To demonstrate, I’ll click and drag the view port on the left to the very top, and notice how what we’re viewing changes:
Ah, now you can see the tiny Cinderella figurine on top of the bookcase. Yeah, it’s my daughter’s, not mine!
If you are viewing an image and nothing happens when you click on the magnifying glass icon, it’s because it’s not a big enough image to have been reduced or shrunk down for display. But if it’s really big, then that little feature can easily become your best friend.