Saturday 14 December 2019

Google search removes 'view image' button in attempt to stop pictures being stolen


Andrew Griffin

Google has removed one of the most important parts of image search.

The company has got rid of the button to "view image" on its own. That means that people can no longer easily navigate to the picture they'd searched for – or download it for later use.

It means that people will only be given the option to see the picture on the page that hosts it. That means clicking into the website and complying with its rules, rather than making it easy for people to look at only the picture.

That appears partly to be the reason that Google made the change. The new site discourages people from being able to steal pictures that they ordinarily wouldn't be able to download, or to link to pictures without people seeing whatever is surrounding them on a page.

Read more: 'If companies don't comply, they should face sanctions' - EU tells Facebook, Google and Twitter to do more for users

Google initially said that the change had been made "to help connect users and useful websites", and stressed that the view on page button would still be around. But it said later that the change had been made in part because of an agreement with Getty to make it harder to steal the image agency's pictures.

"They are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value," Google said on its "search liaison" page.

At least for now, it's possible to get the feature back by adding a Chrome extension. One of them – called, helpfully, "View Image" – adds the buttons back into Google.

It's also possible to get to the actual image fairly easily, despite the fact the button has disappeared. To do that, just right click on the image in the results and select to view it in a new tab – that will open up the picture and you'll be free to do whatever you want with it.

Independent News Service

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