Following its settlement with Getty Images, Google has tweaked its Image Search which will make it easier for original publishers to protect their copyright images as users will no longer be able to conveniently save it with a few taps.
Google announced through a tweet that the ‘View Image’ option from image search has been removed. This will make it difficult for anyone to directly save those high-quality images from the search results. Explaining the changes, the company said that while the View Image option has been removed, you will still be able to access the ‘Visit’ website option to see the context of the webpages for those images.
As Mashable reports, the direct link through View Image option had been a concern for photographers, publishers, and stock image websites as it allowed anyone to freely get access to high-resolution version of the image without visiting the source site. The retention of the Visit button is aimed at allowing people to check the context of the image, thereby reducing the chances of freely accessing copyrighted content.
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
In addition to this, Google has also removed the ‘Search by Image’ option. With this option, you could copy or drag/drop an image to search for related images, without the need of manually typing out the search for an image. The reverse image search has been kept intact. You can continue finding the actual source of an image, which you discover on the web, through the search bar of Google Images. Google further says the new changes to its images search have been designed to “strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.”
Last week, Google entered a multi-year global licensing partnership with Getty Images. As part of the agreement, Google will now display the photo agency’s content within its various products and services. The partnership follows complaints filed by Getty against Google in 2016 for engaging in anti-competitive practices by distorting search results in favor of its own services, and also reducing the need for users to visit source stock websites to download the original image.
Google reportedly had to bring some changes to its image search, including making copyright disclaimers more prominent in the search results and removing direct links to certain images. The latest changes appear to be a step in the same direction and are likely to win cheers from the photographers’ and publishers’ communities.