The next time you do an image search on Google, you might find the results a little different; but its not what you might expect.
This week, Google has removed the “View Image” button in image search results. Essentially this eliminates one of the easiest ways for users to see an image isolated from the page from whence it was sourced. It is a small change, to be sure, but it could have major implications in regards to the way users interact with images on the web. Or, rather, it simply limits the resolution of the images you might want to see.
In a tweet, Google said, “Today we’re launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites. This will include removing the View Image button. The Visit button remains, so users can see images in the context of the webpages they’re on.”
Google went on to comment that they will also be removing the ‘Search by Image’ button. Reverse image search, however, will remain untrained: simply drag an image into the search bar in Google Images to get more information on that picture.
Now, it is very important to note that this is part of a partnership between Google and Getty Images—a new multi-year licensing partnership announced last week—in which Getty Image’s iStock wants to make its image search copyright disclaimer much more obvious and prominent. Removing the View Image button, then, is one simple way to accomplish this.
You may recall that the photo agency filed a complaint last year with the European Commission, a complaint which accused Google of promoting piracy because of this very image search feature that allowed users to view large, high-resolution images. And if you recall that, then you might also remember that Google had only offered thumbnailed images prior to 2013. Getty Images, of course, has also been lobbying for similar consideration among regulators in both the United States and in Europe.
Of course, many of the simple methods for copying pictures from a Google Image search will remain, especially if you use popular Windows-based browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox, and the new Microsoft Edge browser. Just right-click on the photo and you will see a drop down menu of options.