16 February 2018

The Verge: “Google removes ‘view image’ button from search results to make pics harder to steal”

Google is making a change to image search today that sounds small but will have a big impact: it’s removing the “view image” button that appeared when you clicked on a picture, which allowed you to open the image alone. The button was extremely useful for users, since when you’re searching for a picture, there’s a very good chance that you want to take it and use it for something. Now, you’ll have to take additional steps to save an image.

The change is essentially meant to frustrate users. Google has long been under fire from photographers and publishers who felt that image search allowed people to steal their pictures, and the removal of the view image button is one of many changes being made in response. A deal to show copyright information and improve attribution of Getty photos was announced last week and included these changes.

Jacob Kastrenakes

A terrible decision for users. When searching for images, I'm almost never interested in the webpage where it’s published, I want instead to access the image directly. With this change, users are pushed to visit sites that will most likely load ads and trackers into your browser; you’re wasting time for the site to load, then to look for the image on the page… a poor user experience overall. The superior experience of Google Search was based on speed and convenience – I guess Google is no longer interested in providing that.

Google image search removes view image button

And for copyright holders, what problem does this even solve? People can still save original images by right-clicking on them in the search results. And publishers had many other tools to discourage image ‘theft’, from watermarking to publishing low-res versions and putting high resolution originals behind a paywall, or even preventing Google from indexing and displaying their images in search results. Google itself could do much more, for example by filtering copyrighted imaged from search results by default (the current default is ‘Not filtered by license’, which I assume shows copyrighted content as well). Bottom line: a stupid annoyance for users that does nothing to help websites.

Also, I never imagined this would become one of my all-time most popular tweets:

Post a Comment