In early 2018, Google made a few changes to the way Image Search works, the biggest tweak being the removal of the “View Image” button they would take you straight to the image’s URL. Now, all you see is “Visit”, which navigates to the page on which the image appears. So, why did Google do this? A legal settlement with Getty Images basically.
Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison, tweeted about the change back in February 2018:
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
When asked for the reasoning, he followed up with this response:
For those asking, yes, these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week (see also https://t.co/a5uFldOcih). They are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 15, 2018
The “View Image” button wasn’t the only casualty; with Sullivan mentioning the demise of “Search by Image”. He clarified however that reverse image search is still available, you just can’t shortcut it any more when browsing search results.
Of course, killing “View Image” didn’t stop anyone who wanted the direct URL: it’s a simple matter of right-clicking the image and selecting “Open in new window / tab”, or whatever equivalent in your browser of choice, which does the same thing.
Oh well, whatever placates Getty I guess.
This article was originally published in February 2018.