Next to contextual search (i.e. just a plain 'regular' search on a search engine) Image Search is the fastest growing vertical search in the space. Compared to shopping, news, blogging, etc., image search has them beat by a mile. However, what's even more important about image search, is how Google's Universal Search, Ask's 3d Search and Yahoo's Blended Search are utilizing and incorporating images from each of their image search verticals into the 'regular' search results.

No longer are images appearing as just 3 images at the top of a results page, you'll see images incorporated in a lot of different ways. You'll see images coming up with the news one boxes, with descriptions of videos that aren't on Google Video or YouTube, a group of images could appear at the bottom of a page, as opposed to the top of the page. All of the search engines are striving to make the results more relevant and incorporating images into the results is definitely part of that strategy. Just take a look at how Ask is incorporating images for a search on "Jodie Foster".

Get the full story at Search Engine Guide