The image search on Google has been well known for years as one of the first stops to check out online when it comes to looking for a specific image for something, let it be a new wallpaper image for your computer, or a graphic for your research project. Nearly everyone who has any experience with the internet, has found themselves on Google at some point (some frequent it almost daily) making use of that section. Therefore, you might have noticed something has changed.
The “view image” button has been removed from Google image search, preventing you from clicking straight to the image file and bypassing the page in which it was originally displayed on. This is due to a major win for copyright concerns, brought on by a partnership between Google by Getty Images.
Getty Images is one of the largest stock photography agencies out there, and they have shown concern for quite some time about internet users being able to skim graphics so easily using tools like Google, without any concern or knowledge in regards to copyright.
Thanks to this new partnership between the two companies, you now have to visit each individual website for each image you click on. Taking you to the proper source of the image allows you to better understand usage rights of such images, if they are hosted by companies like Getty, where you have the ability to purchase the appropriate usage rights in order to use them for your own needs. Thus, you won’t find as many of the copyrighted images circling around the web by unauthorized users (at least that’s the plan).
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. pic.twitter.com/n76KUj4ioD
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 15, 2018
Google has emphasized on the fact that the “visit” button has not been removed and is now your go to choice for learning more about an image.
The partnership was the result of a competition law complaint that was brought against Google by Getty Images in support of the European Commission’s investigation into Google’s “anti-competitive business practices”. With this partnership, Google will be able to continue to make use of Getty’s library within its image search as long as such images bring the user directly to Getty’s website (or the websites of similar companies/agencies) and show that the image being displayed may be subject to copyright (which Google already states under each image when clicked on).
“This agreement between Getty Images and Google sets the stage for a very productive, collaborative relationship between our companies,” said Dawn Airey, CEO, Getty Images. “We will licence our market leading content to Google, working closely with them to improve attribution of our contributors’ work and thereby growing the ecosystem.”
This way, Google is being used for exactly what it is supposed to–to find what you are looking for, and bring you to where you can learn more about it. Not to be able to skip all the legal stuff, and simply download the image without reading the small print first.
The only sad part of this new change, is that your wallpaper hunt will take a few more seconds to find the image you really want. The world will more than likely adjust to this pretty quickly.