Google Search Removes 'View Image,' Sets Precedent

Google built a reputation for allowing searchers seeking content on websites to preview the content without having to click through, but Alphabet's company recently rescinded that feature for images.

Removing the option to preview an image without visiting the site that hosts it sets an interesting precedent that could extend into publishers' content and material with copyright on other sites.

In this instance, the change means that people need to click through to a photo’s website, find the image, right click on it, and select the option to open an image in a new tab to view it.

The change comes partly as a result of a lawsuit with Getty Images. Google's recently appointed search liaison announced several changes on Twitter, including the removal of the View Image button. "The Visit button remains, so users can see images in the context of the webpages they're on," according to the tweet.

A global licensing deal with Getty Images also resulted from the settlement. Earlier this month, Google announced it will make copyright disclaimers more prominent in image search. The goal is to protect the copyrights holder and make images more difficult to steal.

Not all are happy with the change. Some call it "a ridiculous inconvenience," while others like @mikeqtoo would "happily" like to see the removal of "their watermarked images in the search results anyway."

In a Twitter tweet, Google said the decision is intended to strike a balance between serving user needs and adhering to publishers' concerns. 

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