Sgt_Kickaxe - 5:32 am on Dec 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
I have been busy migrating and merging some low quality content in order to improve user experience and part of that process involved setting up 301 redirects from old to new and improved urls several months ago. Since my htaccess file is larger than I'd like I was just pruning it by checking to see if Google/Bing/Yahoo had migrated to the new URL and removed the old yet...
I checked to make sure the images were also being taken from the new urls by clicking on them for each page and after checking about 30 or so for various urls an image popped up with a new google page design.
The new design had my image on the left, hosted by Google, with a very dark gray background and a frame on the right side of the page that simply contained the image alt description and a link to "visit this page" or "view full size". That's it.
No Google logo, nothing else on the page, just go to the site or return to image search. Extremely plain but at the same time it's all the page really needs! Unfortunately after checking 40 or so more I can't seem to get that template back again on Google.
Was it a mistake? Caused by my redirects where they hadn't updated the preview? A test? Have you seen this new layout?
edit: I found it again. It looks like it's not a design change, sorry. The appearance is the same as when you right click and "view image" in firefox with a page that Google can't load due to redirect or 404. Also, with hotlink protection on the entire page collapses into a 403 error on your domain pulling you right out of Google... not ideal.
I got excited with the look of the page and the simplicity of the options, and my page not being loaded in the background, but alas... ah well. That will teach me for posting about something I haven't fully checked out :) Delete this if necessary.