If you, like many, are an avid user of images found via Google, you might have noticed that saving the perfect photograph has become a little more difficult.
All in your mind? Definitely not.
Rather, it’s Google. The company announced yesterday that they are actively attempting to try make it trickier for you to directly save copyrighted images.
Announcing the change in a tweet, they said that they have “removed the “view image” button from image search,” reports Mashable:
Once a direct link to a high resolution version of your chosen image, the “view image” button was a concern for photographers, publishers and stock image sites alike, as it allowed people to access a high res version of the image without visiting the source site.
With Google’s elimination of the tool, you’ll still be able to visit the source of the image with the remaining “visit” button, but it’s this additional step that’s hopefully meant to make people less likely to steal copyrighted material — seeing images in their original context could be a red flag for users.
So Google is relying on people’s morals to curb image stealing? Interesting.
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
I must say, when I saw the “Images may be subject to copyright” statement under pictures, I did think twice. For like a second.
Of course, a decision like this doesn’t stem from nothing:
This tiny, but significant change notably comes in the wake of Google’s new multi-year global licensing partnership with Getty Images, enabling Google to use Getty’s content within its various products and services.
The partnership was developed after Getty filed a complaint against Google in 2016, accusing the company of anti-competitive practices within Google Images and “distorting search results in favour of its own services” — creating less of a need to visit source stock websites likes Getty to download the original image.
“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,” Getty’s press statement read.
I doubt removing a simple button will curb illegal image usage, but it is a start.
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