For as long as I can remember, image search on Google had a “View Image” button that opened up the image in a new tab and allowed users to download the image without having to visit the site that hosted it. That’s no longer going to be possible because as part of its recent settlement with Getty Images, Google has removed the View Image button from image search.
The change stems from a complaint filed against Google to the European Union by Getty Images in 2016 in which the latter claimed that Google’s image search functionality promoted piracy as it gave people easy access to high-resolution photos and eliminated the need to view them on the original source site.
Google and Getty Images reached an agreement earlier this month with Google now obtaining a multi-year license to use Getty’s photos in its products and it has also agreed to make some changes to its image search and this is the result of that agreement.
The company has confirmed in a tweet that it has removed the View Image button. The Visit button remains which means that users will now have to visit the website where the image is hosted and locate it on the webpage before they can download it.
Google says that this has been done to “strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.” It has also removed the Search by Image button while reverse image search still works by dropping an image in the search bar of Google Images.