In a major blow to digital kleptomaniacs, Google is changing image search results to change the way users have downloaded photos since Google images search has existed.
In a major shift, Google is removing the “View Image” button from the set of options when you click on a picture in the search results. Users will instead be taken through the website by clicking on the “Visit” button and then may or may not be able to download the image, depending on the site’s restrictions.
Although the feature is irksome for users, it will be appreciated by photographers and illustrators who have long complained about their intellectual property being misused or stolen without information. With this, the disclaimer for the copyright attributes will be displayed more prominently in the image search.
Today we're launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites. 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. pic.twitter.com/n76KUj4ioD
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 15, 2018
Besides targeting reckless downloading of copyrighted material, it will also make up for the losses incurred by creators due to the missed ad revenue from the earlier implementation. It also boosts traffic to sites that sell images. Now users will have to go the extra mile by visiting the website, finding the image on the specific page, and then downloading it, which is what publishers have long been asking for.
Of course once on the site, users could use any number of ways – including the ridiculously simple right-clicking and selecting “Open image in new tab” – but Google does not become liable for such actions. Instead it’s the website’s prerogative to block illicit use, while earlier Google was fully responsible as it showed users the direct links in most cases. Websites, often, block right-clicks and we may start seeing more of this in everyday practice than in rare cases like banks or financial websites. Of course there are plenty of other ways to get images from any website, even if there are anti-right-click measures in place.
While the latest change is likely to bring relief to photographers and digital creators, casual users are likely to be very frustrated. Google had to find a middle ground with increasing pressure from publishers on both news and images front.