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Google removes ‘View Image’ button from image search

It’s part of its settlement with Getty Images.
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NurPhoto via Getty Images

Say goodbye to the "View Image" link in Google Images. Google announced a few changes to its image search today, one of which being the removal of its option to check out an image without visiting the site that hosts it. It might be a bummer for some, but since it was a stipulation of Google's settlement with Getty Images, it was only a matter of time before it happened. In a tweet, Google said today that the changes "are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value."

In 2016, Getty Images filed a complaint against Google to the European Union claiming that the company's image search promoted piracy. Getty Images told Time that having easy access to high-resolution photos through Google Images means "there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site." And Getty Images' general counsel Yoko Miyashita said at the time, "Google's behavior is adversely affecting not only our contributors, but the lives and livelihoods of artists around the world, present and future."

The two announced earlier this month that they had reached a deal. As part of the agreement, Google will obtain a multi-year license to use Getty's photos in its products, but it had to agree to change a few aspects of its image search. One change was the removal of "View Image" and going forward, it will also make copyright attribution more noticeable. Google also announced today that it has taken away the "Search by Image" button as well, but it noted that reverse image search through the Google Image search bar still works.

"Ultimately, Google Images is a way for people to discover information in cases where browsing images is a better experience than text," Google said. "Having a single button that takes people to actionable information about the image is good for users, web publishers and copyright holders."

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