Google made major changes to its image search functions

Google officially announced major changes to how image search functions. The first change is to remove Google’s “view image” button. The 'view image' button was mostly a quality of life feature, giving access to the full resolution of the image without having to visit the website of the user that uploaded it.

Now, users can see images only in the context of the webpages. Many web publishers disliked the view image button for a long list of reasons. The second change is to remove the “search by image” button. It may slow down image theft by making it harder to discover new content.


In a press release Getty Images announced a “partnership” with Google. According to the announcement, Google is licensing images from Getty Images. Those changes were forced on Google through the settlement, which  might explain why Google chose to announce this informally through Twitter. On the other part, in April 2016 Getty Images filed a complaint against Google with the European Commission alleging that Google’s image search was aiding the theft and piracy of copyrighted content. It is anticipated that the removal of the view image button may encourage visits from users who are viewing the images.  This should have a positive impact on publishers, especially stock photography businesses.