Google has removed the ‘View Image’ option from its image search results and one will no longer be able to use the option for directly viewing and/or downloading images. The change comes after the company reached a settlement with Getty Images as the latter sued Google for making it too easy for people to steal, misuse and violate copyrighted image.
The View Image button was displayed alongside the visit website option. It would directly open the picture directly and let anyone download it with ease. Removal of the option will make it a bit harder for users to get to the image and download it as now they will need to visit a website and carry on from there.
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
However, this is seen as a response from Google, who has received a lot of flak from stock image hosting websites, publishers and photographers for making it easier for anyone to steal images, without detailing their copyright or licensing.
Alongside the Visit Image button, Google is also removing the Search by Image option which allows users to search for similar images. However, one can still drag and drop pictures to the search bar for doing so.
As mentioned earlier, this development is a result of Getty Images filing a complaint against Google back in 2016. Getty said, "Because image consumption (in Google Images) is immediate, once an image is displayed in high-resolution, large format, there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site," and accused Google of anti-competitive practices and "distorting search results in favour of its own services", which resulted in less users visiting their website for downloading images.