Google pulls 'view image' button from search, makes copyright pictures harder to steal

The changes partially came from the search engine's settlement with Getty Images, where Google agreed to show copyright and attribution information.

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  • Google removed the "view image" button from its search results, a week after settling with Getty Images to show more copyright information for photos.
  • The "view image" button provided an easy way for users to download an image, but publishers and photographers criticized it as a way for people to steal their work.

Google has removed the "view image" button from its search results, the company announced on Twitter on Thursday.

The decision comes partially from a settlement with Getty Images in which Google agreed to show more copyright and attribution information for the photos in search results. As the view image button opened the photo in a new screen making it easier to download or screenshot, removing the button may decrease photo theft.

The "visit" button remains, which will take users to the website where the image appears to give them context and copyright information, the company said. Users may still be able to download an image from its original website, so developers may want to lock images to further prevent theft.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

There is a workaround for most images. If a user clicks an image to expand it in the results, they can then right-click on the image and click the option to open the image in a new tab--where they can then save the image.

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

For websites and publishers, the decision could lead to more web traffic as people have to come to the host site to grab an image. This could potentially translate to increased ad revenue, The Verge noted.

Google also removed the "search by image" button, but the reverse image search is still available.

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Image: Google