SmugMug’s Sexy New Search

We’ve done quite a lot of work lately updating our general look and feel, but we decided that our ancient search pages needed some special attention. Here’s what we did:

See it yourself by going to our homepage here and entering keywords in the search box in the header. Or just click here. Powered by Amazon’s brand-spanking new CloudSearch, our new search is ready to serve up an endless scroll of beautiful photos for your perusal pleasure.

Look Ma, No Pagination!

Here’s a few reasons why you’ll love it:

  • It’s stretchy. No matter how big or small your monitor is, we’ll stretch to fit as many juicy thumbnails in whatever space you’ve got.
  • It magnifies. Mouse over any thumb to see a larger preview of the pic. Like it? Click it!
  • It keeps going and going and going… Scroll to your heart’s content. Especially if you’re using popular keywords like “sunset” or “motorcycle” that turn up tons of images. No need to squint and peck to click forward.
  • It’s got filters. The menu on the left lets you search by Person, Gallery, Photo or Video. Click the “Photos” drop down to filter things further via EXIF data (like camera make/model, aperture, ISO and even orientation).

Where’s my photo?

We just launched this today and we’ve got billions of photos to index, so it will take a while. This means that if you’re playing with search now and don’t see your pics right away, give us a bit more time. They’ll get there.

Tip: Also be sure that your photo’s privacy options aren’t locked too tight.

And one last thing: This new feature is on the general, global SmugMug search page right now. Once we’ve dotted our t’s and crossed our i’s, we’ll hook it up to your site’s search box, too, to blow your fans away. Stay tuned!

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I'm a documentary photographer, storyteller, and traveler based in Berlin.

92 thoughts on “SmugMug’s Sexy New Search”

    1. Of course we will! How else will you be able to search your own photos? 🙂

      But of course we won’t let anyone with the right permissions and passwords see them – only you and those you have given the right passwords and things.

      1. “But of course we won’t let anyone withOUT the right permissions and passwords see them – only you and those you have given the right passwords and things.”
        Will visitors that enter a password to view their galleries see those photos in the search?

  1. Are you limiting the # of options in the filters? For example, in the photographers filter — it looks like it isn’t showing all the options. I performed a search and found a couple of my photos but if I want to search by photographer, my name’s not listed in the filter options even though my photos are in the search results (apologize for using myself as an example, it was just the easiest way to describe :P)

    1. Yes, the filters have to be limited, or the list could be nearly infinitely long for some of these. Imagine how many bird (or sports or wedding or…) photographers we have on SmugMug. 🙂

    1. Hi Doug, we’ve been hearing a lot of good feedback about adding some additional sort by options. We’ll of course continue to refine things as we hear from you, thanks!

  2. Another awesome feature to add to SmugMug’s already awesome site – any plans to offer access to search in your API? We can think of some really cool apps we could build on top of this.


    1. Hey John, Sorry you’re not happy with the update. There’s been a very large and very vocal contingent of users clamoring for better search, and naming many of the features we added in this new version. If there’s something specific about the new system that isn’t working for you, please tell us in detail what it is. User feedback is how we build new functions.

      1. Actually what you did was make the search feature FAR worse. What was so bad about the old search? I thought it was alright, although lacking sort by date(and how long has smugmug been around, 10+ years now?)
        Think about it. A few years back you had all your albums listed with their upload dates for a query. No sort by date feature, but at least people could go through the galleries and check the dates to see if they were new since they last looked. Then about a year ago, for no reason, about 50% of the albums no longer showed uploaded date on the search. That was bad. Now, about 95% do not show the uploaded date of the galleries on this what you call “Sexy” new search feature. It makes no sense. Not only does it run slower than ever, but if someone were to peruse the galleries, and then later check for new albums, there would be NO WAY to know what was new with this current system. So it renders the search feature 100% functionally useless after the first time you do a query. After a first look-though, you cannot know what new stuff has been added with this system you have, so that’s it, the search feature is then rendered useless.
        Forget about aesthetics and exif data, what most people want is functionality and ease of use. Look at flickr’s model: you enter start date and end date, and it gives you all photos uploaded between those two dates, and they don’t make you scroll down thee thousand times to see those pictures(a system google/picasaweb has implemented now which is ridiculous). It runs fast and is totally user friendly. You have a great site here but it needs a sort-by-date feature, especially considering like thousand of albums are uploaded here every day. I am not trying to rail on the site, but I just think if you’re going to implement a new system, you should think about making it functionally useful to casual users.
        Thanks for reading….

  4. If you click on a picture or gallery, how do you go back to where you were in the results? If I hit the back button I end up at the beginning of the search.

    1. Hi Kevin, currently going back to the search takes you to the top but we appreciate this feedback. For now you can command-click or right-click to open the selected link in a new tab/window. Thanks for your input!

  5. It’s possible to scroll fast enough to get to the bottom of the screen and no more results will get loaded and there’s no indication that there may be more results.

  6. It really looks quite nice, but I am missing a boolean connection between search terms. I would be nice to have a search string like:
    “Soup” AND “Cold” AND (“Spain” OR “Italy”) NOT “Caspachio”
    It would greatly simplify the refining act of a search.

  7. Funny….I have over 37,000 sailing images on my SM web site and I don’t come up in the searches for sailing. I have my site, pages and images tweaked to the max for search engine stuff for Google. Oh well.

    1. Give them time. I had the same problem yesterday. I saw, it think it was here, that they have so much to index that it may take time.

    2. Hi Leighton and Kevin is correct. We have billions of photos to index so it may take a little while to get everything updated, but we’ll get there!

  8. Very nice feature! I’m looking forward to the day when you can start to unseat Flickr for community photo sharing so I won’t have to upload everything to two different sites.

  9. The new search thing is BAD…much worse than what you had before. It’s totally slow, freezes up my PC when I do a gallery search, and it’s clunky trying to load all those huge thumbnails. You have to keep scrolling up then back down to see if there is more, like it sort of “hangs” when it gets to the bottom of the current thumnails you are looking at. You can’t see the dates of galleries even sometimes when you hover over the thumbnail. You have no idea most of the time if that album is a day old or 8 years old. If you’re going to do it this way, PLEASE FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE AT LEAST MAKE A SORT BY DATE option (like flickr, webshots, photobucket, etc. all have) so you don’t have to wade through all of these big thumbnails to find the newest additions. I cant believe this site after all these years, has not implemented some sort of sorting by date or “newest first” or at least something.
    Anyone else agree?

    1. Hi Carmen and thanks for the feedback. We have been getting quite a lot of it through the weekend and it’s really appreciated. We will be making adjustments based on it, so keep it coming.

  10. Well, while the site looks awesome on my desktop PC, on both my iPhone and my iPad it looks like total garbage and locks up no matter what browser I use (Safari, Opera). I have switched between both the normal and mobile sites, and there is no difference. I suggest keeping the old search in the mobile site, which worked just fine, otherwise 9-12 pictures is all your ever going to be able to “search”. And just in case someone wants to turn this into an Apple flame war…it’s my job as an Apple tech, get over it. =)

    1. Pam, we’ll be making improvements to the Search in the coming weeks based on the feedback that we get from users like you. Thanks for weighing in.

  11. sorry, but to replace a good site by an unusable search is a downgrade not a update. New big pictures are confusing, no possibility to search for new entrys and so on.

    1. Hi Hein, thanks for your feedback. We’re very appreciative of all the feedback we’ve been getting here, on our forums and through our support center and will continue to make improvements to the Search as we hear from you.

  12. Hey Smugmug, the effort is much appreciated, but this is clearly not a solution that is going to work. Did you focus group this new search? Where is sort by date? Why do I have to go back to the top of a search everytime I click on a photo? Who thought that it was a good idea to have 50,000 tagged photos load onto my screen, only to have to do it all again if I dare click on one of them and then go back to the search. It may look pretty, but the functionality is now horrid. A major step back and i am sure that is not what you set out to do. I am curious what do you see that is positive about this? Its ok to admit you made a mistake ya know, we will forgive you. Or, make it an option to use the new search function and you’ll see how many people choose it. I am now looking for alternative sites, because this just doesn’t work. Is this a result of the Amazon cloud search that you are trying to pass off as a step forward now?

    1. Hi Wyatt,

      Yikes, this is the sometimes difference between getting feedback from hundreds versus millions. It’s hard to imagine in retrospect, but none of the people who’ve been playing with it during its development brought these issues up, including people at SmugMug and our customers. They were all focused on things crucial to them that the old search wasn’t doing that this one does.

      The good news is that the technology we now use is so much more powerful than the old that we can implement the things we wish we’d thought of before it went live.


  13. Dan :
    Well, while the site looks awesome on my desktop PC, on both my iPhone and my iPad it looks like total garbage and locks up no matter what browser I use (Safari, Opera). I have switched between both the normal and mobile sites, and there is no difference. I suggest keeping the old search in the mobile site, which worked just fine, otherwise 9-12 pictures is all your ever going to be able to “search”. And just in case someone wants to turn this into an Apple flame war…it’s my job as an Apple tech, get over it. =)

    Hey Dan,

    Thanks for letting us know about this. We spent some time tracking this down and it turns out to be an IOS 5 thing with the way the back button works, but we think we have a workaround that will fix it that’s in test now. We should have caught this.

  14. I just realized that the search only appears to index gallery names and the contents of the image title/caption. Are there any plans to make it return images that match the image keywords, too?

  15. OK, here is my assesment of the situation going on here. Please read my earlier posts above first. I mean no animosity whatsoever but I hate to see a great site like this tank.
    First, I still connot believe a search system like this was implemented without noticing the MAJOR problem that you cannot use a search index this large without some sort of sorting engine and now that ALL date tags are gone, you cannot even use that to “quasi” sort by date. There is no logical way this new system can be defended as better. 5 minutes of trying to use it and you will go insane. Not to mention Carpal Tunnel from having to keep scrolling up and down to get the thumnails to load more. And throw in the huge RAM chewing it does trying to load all that Javascript (My browser and ENTIRE OS crashed after going down a few hundred results, and others have reported this too). I can only imagine the thousands of people who saw this new engine and said “forget this” and left already. This is something I feel should be addressed immediately—now, not in a few months. The problem is, if you wait too long to fix the debacle that was done, enough people will have left already and it will be too late–they will be gone and they wont even know you fixed things up. If people stop using the search, it logically follows the paying members’ hits will decrease, and how long will it be before they pack it up and go somewhere else? This site has always had SO MUCH going for it, and people love it a lot.
    However these problems go back before Friday. Even before Friday, there was a MAJOR bug in your search results, where about a year ago about 1/2 of the albums on a search mysteriously lost their date tags. I wrote to your tech guys who shrugged it off and said nothing had changed when it clearly had. There’s been other anomolies with the search, like a sudden HUGE instant influx of albums that came from “out of nowhere” and had no date tags. Maybe some of you long time users noticed that too.
    So here is my Joe Q. Public suggestions:
    1) Implement *SOME* sort of sorting ability. Perferably what flickr does, where one enters a start and end date, OR sort by newest to oldest (not great but at least something) OR at the very least revert to the old format (which was WAY better), where there is 10 thumbs a page with the “updated on” date tags back on for each gallery like you had before (that would be least desireable, but we’d still have some way of sorting if we have the patience to go through all the albums checking every date).
    3) If you cannot implement a sort by date because of your architecture, at least address and fix the major bug that was causing about 1/2 of the albums to not display their uploaded date tag. That bug started about a year ago. A couple years ago EVERY gallery showed its date tag. No sort by date, but at least we could do it the “long way” and check for new albums.
    I am curious to know if any others think these are good suggestions. And once again I mean this in the nicest possible way to help. I will not pester anyone anymore, I think I pretty much said all I think should be said, thanks for reading. I’m not going to ditch smugmug like some will, and I encourage the public to be patient and wait it out, and hope they fix thing up.
    If people leave, check back in a few weeks and at least see if they’ve changed things. Don’t give up on the site.

    1. I’ve seen so many comments, a lot from people who are experiencing the same issues I am having: results fail to populate after scrolling through hundreds of images, the results are not dated, we don’t know right away if we are on the same persons photo site but the look HAS changed, and pages are failing to load because of a “continuous” script (some people’s browsers are crashing outright). Why not give people a choice of style like you do with the albums (smugmug, thunbnails, journal…)? It fits in with smugmug’s model albeit would require more storage space. This format seems like it was developed for iphone or ipad users, not your average pc user.

  16. New search is a great start. Thumbnail size is great – can’t wait to see that on normal sites. 😉

    When searching for users in the new search tool, it shows/links to * instead of custom domains. Personally, I’d prefer my custom domain show up there.

    1. Hi Runrig, thanks for your comment. We’ve heard from a lot of people that the search by date was something we overlooked and we will certainly be adding improvements based on all of this feedback.

  17. I’ve ran into problems where the page won’t auto stretch when you reach the end of the results, sometimes scrolling up then back down will fix it, but other times not. Would be nice if at the bottom of the page there was a link that would “manually” stretch the search contents more. Also, it’d be really nice to have some filters to apply to a gallery serach, such as last date updated etc. Thanks!

    1. Scott, thanks for these comments and the ones below, too. It means a lot to us to have dedicated customers filling in where we missed.

  18. Thanks for the search upgrade – I am sure you will take all the feedback on board as you always do on this great site!! Whilst the display and loading looks great, I have to agree with other users here that you do need the ability to search by date uploaded in addition to all those extra filters you have added (which are great by the way!!).

    Whilst the photo search needs some tweaking, the gallery search facility really does need some major upgrading – especially now that we can no longer see any information at all regarding users name, date uploaded etc in the title like we used to be able to in the old search system. I like how the old search results displayed every album (10 to a page) up to thousands of pages if need be with all the information as well – and that is sorely missed now!! I strongly believe you need to be able to search the galleries by date uploaded (newest first or oldest first if you so choose) which will alleviate this problem a bit!!

    Hope this feedback helps – thanks!!

    1. Agreed, the new search may return 1,000’s of results, but it is not possible to see all those results since the search results eventually stop growing. Also, if you make the foolish mistake of accidentally clicking on a gallery then want to return to the results? LOL, sorry Charlie you’ll have to reload all those results again (bandwidth) and then find your spot all over. Or if you must close your browser and restart the search again, your back to square one.

      This whole “facelift” reminds me of something those other cheesy photo hosting websites would have setup for users who don’t know better- Smugmug appeals to the more professional power user. Date range filter like “taken yesterday, last week” etc. is certainly NOT power user. At very least give us a start and end date box for photos/galleries. If I wanted to view galleries from 2009 about fireworks, IMPOSSIBLE now- you couldn’t tell me which ones they were, or even get to them since the search would max out before the desired gallery results were returned.

      Super appreciate the need to update and keep current and fresh, just see this as a fairly substantial step in the wrong direction and the loss of significant features.

    2. It does help, Brett, thanks!

      I think we fixed the IOS bug that had to do with the back button, and we have a toggle in test for sorting by photorank or date, so you can see newest or oldest first.

      Scott, your use case is interesting. Thanks for the specific example. The good news is the new back end is very powerful so we can do a lot of things. We just want to keep the UI simple enough for the millions upon millions who come to the search every month just looking for pretty pictures, often to buy among those for sale.

    3. Hi Brett, thanks for weighing in and it sure does help. We’ve been blown away by the response and are appreciative of you using the new features and finding out what we missed. We’ll be taking it all in and making some improvements based on that.

  19. I haven’t been keywording as much as I should (my bad). To get my photos searchable is there a way of adding keywords to multiple galleries at the same time, or am I doomed to selecting each gallery individually ?


    1. Hi Keith, if you open up your gallery settings, you should see a “Multiple Galleries” button near the top, which includes a site-wide checkbox. You can add gallery keywords this way and have them apply to many (or all) of your site’s galleries.

      For photo keywords, however, you may have to do this on a gallery by gallery basis, using the bulk keyword editor in the Tools button.

      Feel free to ping our heroes if you need any additional help, or if you’ve still got questions.

  20. I dislike the new version very much. You can’t find when a photo or gallery was uploaded, nor can you sort by newest to oldest, so when you are searching with a tag that draws mutiple results, you can’t find what the new galleries/photos are.

  21. I thought my browser was really getting screwed up when it kept closing for no apparent reason and then I saw this new style on SmugMug and figured my browser was really screwed up. So, I downloaded the latest Firefox version and no more browser problems except for this crappy, blocky ugly search engine.

    Google sucks for searching for photos and the more Yahoo copies them the more I dislike them. Now SmugMug is on it’s way to being the leader of ugliness for searching for images.

    I like the old version with the “white” space between the photos.

    By all means, let the photos enlarge for those not wanting to squint. I surely don’t need it yet.

    Search by date… has been covered… and is irrelevant if enough search terms are entered or one isn’t searching for something so common.

    My search term brought up the following:

    1) 3 people — no name matched any part of my search term – do I really want to find people that don’t have the same name as my search term?

    2) 22 galeries — but only 12 are shown to me – where are the other 10?

    3) 3141 photos — but only 108 are shown to me – where are the other 3033?

    — Suggestions —

    Some concerns I have are alleviated when playing around with the controls on the left but make it simpler for someone not eager to try using the controls on the left.

    1) One should be able to know there are more galleries that can be viewed and have a “second page” through last page option in the center of the section or off to the right like the old system. Could be applied to any other category. Could even send one to a new page, so they are searching just by galleries, etc, without having people above or individual photos below.

    2) 3141 photos and a simple click omits photos I may not want omitted. For example, click on Photos and one can then checkmark by photographers and galleries. There are many more photos being shown that just don’t fall under those parameters. Why?

    3) If I wanted to search by photo only, could I have just one photo shown from each gallery, not all of them? I don’t need to be opening up multiple tabs of the same photographer.

    4) When my images are finally part of this new search engine… they will be cropping the hell out of them and herding them like cattle jutting right up to other photographs. It’s all a blur and does an injustice to the way my photos are viewed under a search with the old system.

    Horizontal and vertical images should be viewed initially as they are. The first time someone sees my image, it will have been converted from a 8×12 to an 8×8 or imagine a nice 10×20 panoramic photo cut down to 10×10.

    5) Where’s the extra photographer name recognition below the photo in a general search? If they can view the gallery title a photo is under… why not the photographer’s name?

    6) I have my internet browsers minimized in size on a 23″ screen so when I maximized my browser my screen went blank. Using the bar at the right of the screen quickly fixed it. This bug was easily repeated with a new unique search term.

    — Conclusion —

    Adding more search parameters is nice but the only visual difference that is acceptable from the old to the new system is the rollover enlargement of the photos. Try implementing new search features into the old style with this in mind. The separation of various photos and something more consistent with their original size is really important to me. I want to feel really comfortable on SmugMug but I just want to puke when I see the blocky photos in the new search style. Save the blocky photos for those with blocky phones.

    1. I’ve found that FF 12 does indeed get unstable after 1,500+ items have been scrolled through. Since you it’s a cardinal sin to actually click one of the search results (no back feature) if the result is opened in a new tab FF totally chokes when you then close that tab and it must re-display the search results page with a ridiculous number of items on the page. Sometimes it crashes at this point, most often just lags for 8 seconds or so not responding then snaps back to life. I don’t blame the browser at all, just whoever thought this “no pagination” was a good idea, I’d seriously love to sit down and chat with them over a cup of coffee to understand exactly what was the reason for that?! Just so ridiculously ineffective.

      1. The back button returning you to the top of the search results is seriously annoying. We’re working on that but unlike some other things we’re working on wrt search, this one is somewhat challenging.

        Also, your browser blowing up after 1,500 items is more than annoying. We, or at least I, didn’t conceive of displaying as many at 1,500 results… We need to fix this.

  22. I am AMAZED at how FAST smugmug implemented the sort by date feature–they got right on it and didn’t wait. The important thing is you CAN NOW SORT FROM NEWEST TO OLDEST FOR GALLERIES SO YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO GO THROUGH THOUSANDS OF HITS TO FIND THE NEW ONES. THANK YOU TONS FOR THIS FEATURE. THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE WANTED SINCE THIS SITE BEGAN. I have tested it out and it is DEAD-ON accurate. It doesn’t miss a thing. It even returns (and consequently fixed) that long-time bug where the “date stamps” suddenly starting missing. The Newest/Oldest for Galleries works GREAT. Smugmug FINALLY got it right and let’s hope they don’t change it now.
    To Jared: Now that we can sort newest first, it doesn’t matter anymore about the blocky big pictures on the search. There is NO NEED to go back to the old page by page format because you don’t have to scroll down more than a few lines since FINALLY all the new galleries are listed first. And if you want to search by pictures, well, the “last day/lastweek” feature is certainly acceptable. I dont search by photo, but in my experimenting with it it seems decent–you can check newest photos by last day, which is certainly enough. I didn’t notice any discepencies with the photo result number and how many photos actually showed up like you reported. The important thing is Smugmug finally added in a date-sorting mechanism. The other minor issues can be worked on over time.
    Another thing: You can re-size the thumbnails on the search index…I didn’t even realize this at first. I use Opera which has a handy slider bar at the bottom…it lets you go anywhere from 3 pictures in a row up to about 18 when you slide it far to the left. The pics on the search load much faster if you make the thumbs smaller. And I dont get any crashing problems now, because all those “hangs” were occuring after MANY scroll-downs, but like I said, YOU NO LONGER have to go down far because of the Newest first option. Ditch that garbage browser and use Opera. Slide the bar(in the lower right corner) to the left and you’ll see more thumbs, and it loads faster.
    Also, (and this is important) you can open a gallery by right clicking and just “open in new tab” (with Opera), which very quickly opens that gallery next to your search window, and YOU DON’T LOSE your place where you were in the search. If you do this it won’t reset to the top all over again, something a lot of people complained about. OPEN THE GALLERY IN A NEW TAB and you don’t have to worry about that.
    But the main point is that Smugmug did a hell of a job getting on this problem. They listened to the people. Having Gallery sorting Newest to Oldest is THE MAJOR thing that now makes the search index 100% functional again, and it’s even better, because there is no more wading through all those galleries checking date tags–you know the newest stuff is at the top, and all you have to do is simply “remember” when you last checked that keyword or when you last saw that gallery. Couldn’t be easier.

    1. “Ditch that garbage browser?” — Carmen

      Wow. That’s a good argument to love the new search engine.

      “Now that we can sort newest first, it doesn’t matter anymore about the blocky big pictures on the search.” — Carmen

      What does sorting by date have to do with the blocky images?. Maybe I haven’t been to an art gallery where they line up all the photos side by side, not in frames, with no space in-between them, cut to a square format and as people come into the gallery they say… don’t worry about how the photos look, it’s okay because we put the most recent photos up front and if you want to see the original cropping of the image, just let us know and we’ll bring out another copy with the original cropping. Out of curiosity, have you shown and sold any photos at this type of gallery?

      If you’re so in favor of blocky photos being jutted up against one another, why don’t you just change your personal SmugMug account to show your galleries and photos in a square format and ask to have their be no spaces between photos or any sort of pagination. It’ll be okay, because the recent photos can be sorted to be shown up front.

      Obviously you didn’t understand all of my comments or you would have realized that the least of my concerns was the search by date feature.

      Now that you mention it, waiting for the images to load so that I may scroll downward is a bit cumbersome, glitchy and annoying without pagination (pages to click to). Something that if they keep, I’m sure they’ll improve. But, I would still prefer pages to click with the ability to decide how many photos will be displayed in order to see more images.

      Cropping my images for a blocky, square format that crams all of the photos up against one another is still unacceptable.

    2. Carmen- yeah, you can sort by date now- cool. While sorting by date may alleviate *your* personal gripe list with the new search format, it is a far cry from the silver bullet for most of the comments here. Sorting by date is a feature request that we asked for and has been implemented, it’s progress not the solution.

      1. Hey Scott,

        Can I call you? That goes for most people who’ve posted here, I’d love to ask more questions about your use cases. You can email me with your number and times I can call at baldy at smugmug dot com.

        The database we’re now based on is very powerful so we can make many modifications but we’re having trouble understanding some use cases and want to implement the most important ones, and get it right.


    3. i will address some of your comments.. First of all, your main gripe seems to be the fact that the new search index design “crops” part of the photo and “crowds them up”. Now they are slightly cropped on the SEARCH– this is true, but if you hover over it, it shows the whole picture. Who cares about that? The gallery pictures themselves aren’t cropped. THAT IS WHAT PEOPLE LOOK AT. And if they are doing a photo search, like I said, a simple hover shows the whole thumb, which incidently is a lot larger than the old pagination thumb size.
      The GALLERY search is really NO DIFFERENT FROM THE OLD PAGINATION DESIGN–IT’s STILL ONE THUMBNAIL PER GALLERY BEING DISPLAYED. THAT DESIGN WAS PERFECTLY FINE and one flickr (a dying website) DOES NOT HAVE. That alone makes this site better than Flickr. You can’t search by albums over there.
      Aren’t you happy now that people will actually SEE your photos because they now have motivation to use the site because of date sorting? I can’t say it enough: Date sort, date sort, date sort….you implement that, and your hits go up, more revenue, a happy Joe Q. Public; everybody wins. Forget the cropped photos on the search—people look at GALLERIES. And Smugmug is the king when it comes to galler functionality.
      Also, I don’t understand why you ask for “One picture” from each gallery on ther search…that’s what GALLERY SEARCH does, it IS showing one picture from that whole gallery. Smugmug was ALWAYS like that. The only change is no pagination, which if you think about it, it is better now….who needs place markers in your search if you can sort by newest? You don’t have to scroll down far enough to worry about place markers anymore. The new design is FINE as long as they keep date sorting. No need for pagination.
      Pagination obviously still exists on the galleries themselves, as you know. Nothingchanged there. They have a good system–the user can choose many different sizes, thumbnail/page/slideshow/journal options–what more can you want? There is NO CROPPING of photos on the galleries themselves. No one cares about a slight crop on the search results–remember, most people look at the GALLERIES (I would think), since it is faster and more convenient. The Sort Newest/oldest feature is the game maker folks….for all the paying members, think of all the people who will now see your albums because the newest galleries are listed in perfect sequential order with newest at the top. Before, you would have to wade through tons of hits and check EVERY DATE STAMP(half of which were missing) and not many people would bother doing this. There is no need to go back to pagination for the search index design, simply because you have date ording now which negates the slow-loading/frustration issues with the new boxy design. Now of course first time users would have to go through that headache of scrolling through all those gallery hits, but once that is done, they NEVER have to do it again because of date sorting which the lifeblood of ANY MAJOR photos sharing site.
      Sure, the pro photographers will always have some complaints–you can’t satisfy everyone, but the site certainly has shown it listens to the people (which failure to do so has cost many other photo sites), and I am sure they will iron out some of these minor appearance issues in the weeks to come.

      1. One small correction–I meant to address your concern over the “i only want to see one picture” from a keyword in the photo search instead of “all” of the pictures from that gallery. I understand your point, but think about though–your keyword query IS a keyword tag for EVERY picture in that gallery. Isn’t that what you are intending to do in the first place? Chances are high your keyword is going to apply to most, if not all, of the photos in that gallery. So why not show all the pictures from the album? Picture tagging could be done (maybe smugmug already does this, i don’t know), but still, my belief is people search galleries a lot more than photos.

  23. I was about to add my thanks for the wonderful additions to the new search facility – including finally being able to sort the galleries by date added as well as the photos. A great enhancement!! Now I find the whole new search facility is suddenly gone and we have gone back to the old system!! Or is it just me? Very disappointed – is this only temporary – at least I hope so!!

  24. Hey Carmen, I never thought I’d say this to anyone… please try to edit your comments just a bit.

    I just went to do a search to clarify the point you’re making regarding my point from above, #3, and noticed that the search engine has been reset. Taken as a stand alone comment, you’re right but I was mostly referring to the fact that there were galleries being omitted with the new search features… so, I’d be clicking on the photos in the photo section that weren’t being brought up in the gallery section.

    If my point was not clear: many photos were being omitted from some of the search options and if the search options can’t be relied upon… maybe there is a way to have just one photo shown from each gallery with such a search term (like it is now under old system?) and maybe just one photo from each photographer so I’m not opening up multiple tabs from the same photographer.

    Under the old system (that is currently up now?), I like the spacing between photographs and the photographs being shown as originals instead of the square crop. By the way, the photographers chose to have their photos shown as original size (not the square crop) in 20 out of the first 30 galleries in one of my search terms. With 5666 galleries to check, you can start to see why having one gallery per photographer shown would be nice.

    Adding a roll-over enlarge photo would be cool too.

    The new style wasn’t an enlarge feature… it was just a roll-over feature to see the whole photo instead of the taken out of context square crop. As long as what someone is looking for is in the the middle section… most people will be happy. But being overwhelmed with photos in a search… similar photos will get overlooked and quickly scrolled over if what they are looking for is not in the square crop.

    Some of the new search features on the left need more playing around with to get right and if Baldy knew they weren’t right then I was stating the obvious.

    One feature I’m not sure I like though: being able to search for photos by those that are trying to sell photos and by those who aren’t. (This was possible, wasn’t it?) Just the idea of people being able to quickly omit my photos for viewing might be a bad precedent: “Hey guys, why pay for photos when they are free over here?”

  25. Well it was fun while it lasted…(a whole 7 days)…WHY DID THEY GO BACK TO THE OLD FORMAT? No more sort by date. Back to going through thousands of hits checking date stamps (half of which are missing). Jared, I’d respond to your comments but right now it’s moot because Smugmug switched back it appears. Someone(s) must have really pissed them off and made them go back to the old format. Perhaps they went back to it while they Beta test a new search. Man, why did they do this? The new format was just great. The nitpicking details could easily have been ironed out over time. Majorly dissapointed, but I had the feeling this would happen.
    Please Smugmug, if youre’ going to keep the old format fine, but AT LEAST put a sorting by date feature back up with it.
    Thanks for reading as always.

  26. We’ve been talking to lots of customers, finding bugs, getting feedback, tweaking features.

    One of the hottest topics among some customers, which is understandable, is showing cropped square thumbs until you hover. There are some photographers who just hate that because maybe they compose the shot with the most interesting part way off to the side.

    Unfortunately, there is the other camp that just hates the messy layout of the search results when the whole photo is displayed. It seems to us that the majority like the clean, symmetrical look we have now with the option to hover. I wish we could find an option that pleases all, but so far we’ve come up dry.

  27. Thank you Chris for quick response….Maybe it is best to just not crop the thumbs at all. Then there is no need to hover, but the tradeoff is you won’t be able to fit as many thumbs in a row. The old page-by-page system certainly works, but the main issue with the search is that sorting by date has to be implemented to make the search useable. Newest-to-Oldest is fine, even though it is not a “true” sort by date, it is the second best and certainly functional way to handle it.
    Perhaps consider keeping the old format Smugmug has always had, but add the sort by date feature. Pros seem to like the old format better, but the general public wants a cleaner interface with sorting options.

  28. is there anyway to have the old search (currently up as of 4/29) and the nrew search for perople that perfer to choose ??

    plzz respond thnx
    Long time SM user

  29. The new look is beautiful, but the infinite scroll is really frustrating if you want to continue a search from an earlier time. For example, if I searched for “kittens” and looked through hundreds of pictures, I used to be able to bookmark the page and come right back to resume the search from that point. Now, it’s very hard to remember where you last left off, and it takes a frustratingly long time to get to it!

    1. We’re working on the infinite scroll and returning to where you are when you hit the back button. Turns out that to do it the right way is hard and will take while. I wish I had a better answer for you.

      1. I see the new search feature is up again for reviewing.

        And I guess I won’t be receiving a call or response from Baldy anytime soon. ;(

        But here’s more elaboration on something he may or may not know:

        I entered a search term and clicked on photos on the toolbar on the left.
        129 people, 5670 galleries & 244,311 photos can be searched.

        Then I clicked on For Sale – Default pricing (a feature I think might be a bad idea).
        93,158 photos can be searched even thought it says 93,163 on the left toolbar.

        Then I clicked on each individual photographer (only 10 showing) individually and only one photographer is attributed to 1578 photos (but it says 1580 on the left toolbar). What about the other 90,000+?

        Conclusion: there are photographers missing from this list. I can only make sure my name shows up on its respective list… but if I’m looking for just opening up one browser tab per photographer when I’m looking for a photo… some photographers are SOL if they aren’t in the top 10. Are we all now going to fight and slip some cash under your door to be listed in the top 10?

    2. If You use Opera, you simply right click on the thunb, choose “open in new tab”, and it will open the gallery right next to it in a new tab. Then you don’t lose your place in the search because you did not click on the picture. It’s still there in that tab. I don’t know about other browsers but they all should allow “open in new tab” somewhere…I only use Opera because it is the best. I sugguet downloading Opena and you problem will be solved.

    3. If You use Opera, you simply right click on the thunb, choose “open in new tab”, and it will open the gallery right next to it in a new tab. Then you don’t lose your place in the search because you did not click on the picture. It’s still there in that tab. I don’t know about other browsers but they all should allow “open in new tab” somewhere…I only use Opera because it is the best. I sugguet downloading Opena and you problem will be solved. So there is no need to have figure out a way (for Chris) to figure out how to “return”…you don’t have to if you just open it in a new tab. I dont even know if they could implement a “Return” because there really is no place markers on the new design.

  30. Thank you for your answer, but my problem is not solved by opening in a new tab. I’m talking about bookmarking a spot in the search, so that you can close the browser and return to that spot later.

    1. You are right, it won’t work if your turn off your computer or something….but my suggestion is still to just go through everything, open each gallery in a new tab, and bookmark those tabs. So you are just bookmarking each gallery and you can then not worry about the search. However if you absolutely must leave and resume your search later do this: simply write down the name if that last gallery thumb before you leave, then you can VERY easily turn off your PC, come back on later, re-enter that search, and just scroll down uniil you get to the album thumb you left off on which you wrote down.. It goes fast—maybe 10 seconds of scrolling down and you will get to your thumb where your left off. In other words, you’re doing the bookmark yourself by writing it down, then going back to it later. It doesnt take long at all. Try it works fine…

  31. Just a follow-up from my perspective: Chris from SmugMug called me and was genuinely interested in real user feedback. I think we spoke for nearly a half hour about the new search engine, from what I gathered the SmugMug team is well aware of several of the above listed concerns and they too are desiring and working toward a solution. From what I’ve gathered-

    1. Lose place in search when hit back button
    2. Search results page erroneously stops growing
    3. Search results grow too large for browser to efficiently handle (1500+ items)
    4. Gallery search omits date info that old search provided

    The above four items could be fixed by allowing a paginated search option. Let the user choose between a single expanding page or fixed number of results per page (like currently when viewing a gallery in “Thumbnails” style, there is a checkbox option of “Show thumbnails in a single page.”

    Other than that, I think some of the filters on the new search engine need to be ironed out a bit, and it would be awesome if the date filter was a range instead of the current 1 day, 1 week, 1 month.. old stuff.

    Finally, about in regards to the square crop of photos issue: without doubt the square crop is more functional for most photos on the search results page. Square crop isn’t always the best solution for displaying a gallery, but we’re talking about search results page only here. That being said, as photographers we are forced to deal with some automated cropping issues to accommodate mobile devices and other sites like Facebook (new timeline format square crops). Since each gallery can have a single photo chosen to represent that gallery in the search results, I think it’s best to select a photo that works for the square crop if this is an issue for you. That will not completely eliminate but will mitigate some of the concerns about square cropping, and seems a reasonable compromise. It’s not like panoramic photos looked that great as thumbnails in the old search anyhow!

    Thanks SM for listening!

    1. My opinions on your post…
      1) You don’t need to hit the back button on your search. You can open the gallery in a new tab and the search index remains where you are. There is no need to use a place holder and I dont think it could be done without returning to pagaination. Whatever browser people are using, simply right click over that thumb, then select open in new tab. I use Opera and whole heartedly recommend it above ALL other browsers.
      2) I have done more checking on the gallery search. I am seeing good consistency between gallery order and their tag dates. There does not seem to be any errors I can find. What is the definition of “erroneous growing?” That’s simply normal traffic. Of course I can’t prove every gallery is getting in the index, but based on the HUGE amount of new albums being added, odds are they ARE all getting in there. What’s even better is that the search NOW RETURNS all albums even if they weren’t date stamped…that used to be a problem. AND NOW IT DOES RESULTS IN REAL-TIME, which is great, because there is no “when is the next update???” or “why do you erase the new pictures after 24 hours??” questions that has led to the downfall of many other photo sharing websites.
      3) Yes, the results do grow too large. I can understand that as an argument for pagination. However, once you go through that initial “headache blast” as I call it, you never have to do it again, because of the newest first option. If you keep up with your keywords from time to time, you will never have to scroll more than maybe 10 rows down or something at most(Depedning on how popular that keyword is of course).
      4) Gallery search shows the date if you open it and, yes, you would have to go through the hoop of clicking on the owner’s category to see the date stamp, which is a minor annoyance. HOWEVER there really is no need to see the date stamps if you can sort by date–simply remember or write down the “Caption” that is on that gallery thumbnail. Next time you do a search for the same word, you just go down to that caption. No need for a date stamp on each thumbnail (and in the old format, 1/2 of the galleries had their stamps missing, so what is really the difference now?) A date means nothing if you think about it. It is only necessary as a server stamp so it can effectively return hits newest first.
      5) However I do agree with you on PHOTO search…the “last day” “last week” thing is confusing. I wonder why they just don’t apply the same “newest first” filter to the photo search like they have to the gallery search. Maybe they will. Even if they don’t, at least there is still SOME way to know what pictures are recent (talking about photo search, not gallery). And that’s a ton better than it was before, when you had no idea at all.

      BOTTOM LINE: Whatever Smugmug does to improve the site for the hardcore photo users, I think that is fine, but whatever they do, PLEASE do NOT remove sorting by date option. Whether they revert to pagination or keep the new format, whether they crop or de-crop, whether we can sort by a color or picture size (details most people don’t care about), those things are pettty compared to the A #1 priority of having a useable ordered database of photos that is updated in real time. Lack of that has been the downfall of every photo sharing site that has died, where they stopped listeing to the people, accumulated a huge database of pictures, but implemented retarded sorting mechanisms, picture return limits, “index updates”, “clean out everything but yesterday’s photos”, you all know what they’ve done to ruin themselves.
      This site though is doing everything right so far. They will iron out the issues for the pros I am sure in time..keep up the good work smugmug people and thanks for listening

      1. “A #1 priority of having a useable ordered database of photos that is updated in real time. Lack of that has been the downfall of every photo sharing site that has died, where they stopped listening to the people, accumulated a huge database of pictures, but implemented retarded sorting mechanisms, picture return limits, “index updates”, “clean out everything but yesterday’s photos”, you all know what they’ve done to ruin themselves.” — Carman (pretending to be Carman?)

        I get the impression you think of SmugMug as a place to share and get free photos… and will surely perish if it doesn’t keep or improve a sort by date search.

        Sorting of date could be done with the old pagination. Start from page 1 or start from the last page.

        The more I play with the new search engine, the more problems I see with it that have nothing to do with sorting by page, scrolling or the hatchet job on widescreen photos.

        Eventually after fixing the many bugs (some not even mentioned yet) of the new search system, why not have the best of both worlds?

        Keep the old style for searching an individual’s site and the new system when starting a search of all SmugMug sites.

    1. Hi Graham, we do have that ability already on your site if you display our header in your galleries. You can have people search just on your site, or from within specific galleries. Right now that search still uses our old Search function and skin, but we’re going to expand the new look and feel to your search, too.

  32. Endless scrolling is quite buggy, it stops scrolling many times when reaching bottom of the page (I have to scroll up with browser scroll bar, and scroll back down). I think for general public the new search is quite good, but for professionals, endless scrolling needs to be on/off option. Good example of excellent image searching is All the filters, results and sorting are availible in straight forward UI.

  33. So, what’s the latest with the new search engine? Are the bugs fixed or are you going to tell us how we can best go through our sites and spend countless hours to clean them up to adapt to the new search engine? What about photos I’m working on now or are you just going to wait for us to upload more images and then spend time fixing them later?

    Oh how I wish Baldy would have replied, called or let us know what’s going on. Oh well, here you go for starters.

    There are three major problems (in no particular order):

    1) Scrolling… it just bugs the heck out of me (and reminds me of scrolling on Facebook looking for someone). When will the scrolling end? I have no idea. If it was just a normal 10-page search result, I’d probably look at all 10 pages. Otherwise, I get annoyed quicker and well, sorry all you people on page four through ten… I won’t be looking at your photos. I guess you didn’t pay extra to get your photos to show up in the first three pages of (scrolling).

    2) Looking for a particular photographer that you know shoots a particular subject? If you can’t remember his name…(the glitches are being ignored? because) you can no longer search by photographers. I pity the person that has to scroll through the 1000 photos I just uploaded.. hoping to find a different photographer besides me… that is, if they know I won’t show up in the people section or gallery section.

    3) Search words. Extremely recently, I inquired about singular words versus plural words to put in my site as keywords (before the new search engine came out). To paraphrase and give a different example… “if you want someone to find “baseballs” then you need to put “baseballs” as one of your keywords. If you want someone to find “baseball” then you need to put “baseball.” On the off-chance you don’t know what someone will search for, you should add both keywords to your photo.

    — I’d love a simpler keyword list. Only having to put in the plural word will do that and save time. Should I be cleaning up all of my old keywords? What about new photos? Is there still a need for phrases and having the individual words?

    I’m kind of annoyed that only my photos show up in the photo section. I have a whole sub-category with the words I’m searching for but because I didn’t use those words in the gallery title (or gallery description? to make my site more cluttered), my photos won’t show up in the gallery section. Will you be expanding the search engine somehow? Photographer section (extremely needed with improvements)? Sub-category or category section? Or will those titles be included in the gallery section searches, somehow? Perhaps hidden keywords for gallery titles.

    Please advise. I’m hoping to not re-do everything.

    1. The latest update is I called Jared and a buch of other searchers and feel like we have a growing understanding of the crucial issues. Two of them are very challenging from an engineering point of view to solve, but I think we’re just about to release a fix for one, and for the other we have a working demo that looks like it will work.

      The first is the back button returns you to the top of search. Ugh. What’s in test will return you to where you were in search, and the position is displayed in the URL so you can send a link to someone and they will be taken to that position. There are still some open bugs with it so I dunno when it will ship, but it’s looking very encouraging.

      The other is when you keep scrolling your browser slows down, the scrolling gets unsmooth, and eventually it crashes. Double ugh. The demo I’ve seen appears to eliminate all of that.

      The question is, if we do that, is there still a demand for pagination? Reason I ask is in the demo, people seem to suddenly love unlimited scrolling so they don’t have to keep clicking next page, which they find annoying. One proviso I think I understand is people want a visual indicator of where they are in the search and where’s the end, and pagination sorta does that, although not perfectly.

      There was a bug where we weren’t indexing keywords and using them in the search, only captions, but that should be fixed.

      We seem to be seeing more comments on photos and more search traffic since the new search came out, so we’re now dedicating some of our best engineering to this.

      I hope this helps and as always, thanks for such great feedback. I’m talking to customers who spend 7 hours a week using our search.


    1. Hey Josh, at this time the new search function is only for global search across SmugMug. We’ll get it hooked up to your individual sites as soon as we’re ready.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for checking back with us! We’re feeling really excited about the things we’re seeing so far despite some of the shortcomings we saw at launch, so we’re working hard and making good progress.

      One thing is the search on your personal site is now powered by Amazon’s new CloudSearch ( ), same as on SmugMug’s home page. So hopefully you’re noticing that it’s pretty fast. We had struggled in the past with speed on user sites that had tons of photos & keywords when we used our own search engine.

      What we haven’t done on personal sites yet is use the UI we’re using on our home page, for several reasons, one being we’re still working to solve some of the user feedback we’re getting. That UI does unlock the expanded features Amazon’s search engine offers so those aren’t available on personal sites yet.

      The exciting thing is user engagement went up on SmugMug home page searches after launching the new engine and UI, despite some of the things we had to smooth out. We’re seeing more comments, more purchases and more traffic.

      The only downer is search for photos, both for the user interface and the engine, is a very difficult problem, so progress takes time. I think it’s safe to say Amazon’s eyebrows went up when we first started talking to them about this because where they have millions of catalog items for their store, we have billions of photos, and there are many attributes to juggle, like keywords, camera info, public or unlisted, etc.

      I hope this helps and I’m sorry I don’t have a timeline to give you.

      All the best,

  34. They “Googled” the image search. I hate Google’s image search format.

    When it comes to the Internet, I am seekingh efficiency in navigation. There are websites that provide “sexy” for people seeking such things.

    Tab switching takes fifty years with all those images on one page.

    It is not good for old computers. It is not good for low ram computers. It is not good for low bandwidth conections.

    It’s Google-pimping.

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