In what's seemingly a drastic but not-so-unexpected move, Google has removed the "view image" button usually seen when browsing for images on Google Search, the one which allows users to download any image from the search engine without any hassle.
This is a big deal. Chances are, if a user is trying to locate an image on Google Search, they want to download it and use it for their personal projects. The move might be Google's direct response to a handful of photographers and artists who feel that the search engine makes their work easily prone to stealing.
Google Removes View Image Button
The move is also a part of a broader multiyear global licensing partnership with Getty Images announced last week that requires Google to improve attribution of contributors' photos, plus make copyright disclaimers more prominent, and, of course, the removal of the view image button.
"Today we're launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites," tweeted Google. "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."
Google's intention is not to ultimately stop people from downloading images, but to make them go to the original website where the image is hosted so that site can display ads, get revenue, and allow people to see copyright information. That's thrilling news for publishers, sure, but a potential nuisance for regular Google Search users, as they now have to take additional steps just to download images.
With the view image button removed, users would have to go to the website, scroll through it to find the image if it's not immediately viewable, and then download it from there, if so they choose. Some website, it's worth noting, disable users from downloading images altogether — another nightmare.
There's A Workaround, Though
Users need not frown — there's actually a pretty easy solution. With the view image button gone, users can just right click the photo on Google Images and select "open image in a new tab" or "view image" and access the full-size photo to download it. The problem is not everyone knows that this is possible.
While it's definitely worth commending Google for its effort to protect publishers and photographers' rights, it's easy to imagine that a large portion of Google's audience, if not all, will be dismayed by the change.
Do you think Google's decision to remove the view image button is wise? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!