Reminder: Why You Can’t View Images Directly In Google Image Search

Reminder: Why You Can’t View Images Directly In Google Image Search
Image: Supplied

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:

When asked for the reasoning, he followed up with this response:

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.

Google SearchLiaison [Twitter, via ZDNet]

This article was originally published in February 2018.


  • Right clicking and opening the image in a new tab doesn’t work – at least not on Android Chrome. All you get is the Google cached version, which is often lower resolution. The dumb thing is by removing direct access, they’ve made I’d REALLY hard for anything appearing in a forum, blog, etc where the images stay static but the page updates all the time and the image might not be there later.
    If this was to do with Getty, why not only do it with Getty stuff? Bl

    • Hey @Timmy NotLoggedIn,

      Yes I checked the right click option on my Laptop, I use a windows operating system and the right click took me to the same page of the website as what the visit button did so I don’t really see a big change there. I couldn’t get it to work from my Android phone though!

  • Today we’re launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites.Nice try Google spokesperson, but taking away things that were useful is not “helping” users.

  • Well that just SUCKS!!! Thank you Google, u have now become useless to me as u were the best for researching images. This was the main REASON I had Google as my homepage! I always loved looking and searching on your images and now that choice has gone. You’ve taken something really useful and great away!! I don’t want to connect with users or go on [what u call ‘useful websites’]. Most of the websites today are so full of junk advertising blinking away or extremely distracting that its unpleasant visiting websites so I avoid them as much as possible! It is becoming more and more difficult to wait for the download of the website I visit and frustratingly takes a very long time or will not fully download as there is SOOOOOO much going on the page with annoying useless boring adverts… its like a load of junkmail!! [and most of them from Google which are in your face and extremely intrusive!!]. U can keep your getty images as I was never interested in them anyway. Now I will either make Bing or Yahoo my homepage. I am NOT INTERESTED at all in ‘Visiting’ the webpage to view an image… takes far too long and just wastes my time. I think u Google have made a wrong move!

  • removing the ability to view and image unless I got the website …no thanks ….I’ll find another browser ….trying to find , and view in detail , images of places i want to visit..if I can’t do that here I’ll do it elsewhere ….so may as well close blog, author site, and e mails …

  • I found a work around that has been working most of the time.

    Like most of you I had the problem where it would work loading image in new tab or anything that use to work. Or it was a pain to find a better resolution of the same image.

    Now right click a picture you like in the normal google search. Click “Search Google for Image”
    Left click on the first result (if it is the image that is)
    Then it should take you to the old screen that use to be SO much easier to reach.
    Find the resolution you want.
    Then click on that image and once its pulled up then right click and open in new tab.

    You can also do this by reverse Image Searching (basically what the above steps does but in case your looking for a higher res of a picture you already have.)

  • this is real shit. im trying to do a report and nearly evrytime i get an image that match my subject i get thisGety shit. very wrong move and a big hindrance for users. i trusted you google.

    • Today is August 7 2018, and as of 2 hours ago I have lost Google!! I cannot get any answer to anything. All I get is the same URL mumbo-jumbo and a bunch of link crap that I do not understand! What can I do to get Google back?!! Can anyone PLEASE help me? I have never owned a computer and I’ve only had this iPhone7 for over a year, learning on my own, mostly with Google’s help!! So I do not know all of the technology lingo, etc.

  • Well thats major bullshit….where am i gonna browse images now? Google has the most high def images out there and i always love browsing on my phone through images and such…now when pressing an image, it just takes you directly to the site? Wtf google how is that “helping” based on what you said in this article? I don’t wanna connect with ur “useful websites” because i want the image PRONTO…nothing more nothing less, this was a bad move google…Im never using you again and probably will uninstall u later

  • Today when I tried unsuccessfully to select an image in Google image search “Visually similar images” results, it takes me to some misbegotten Google page that does not contain a single instance of the image I clicked on. There seems to be no way to access the actual website of the image I would like to inspect. The website is contained in a hovering URL when I mouse over the image. However, all open/copy/save links take me to another Google visually similar images results page, full of images that aren’t what I clicked on. Bizarre. What’s the point of Google Images now?

  • You can still right click and open image in new tab so not really a problem… I was happy with the old picture view this side rubbish is just that, rubbish. Been using my bing account instead. Again google do changes to us, not for us.

  • Anyone else notice a radical change in Google Images this weekend? On android I used to get a page of thirty or so thumbnails, click on one and it becomes full screen then right click (hold for menu) and choose save image.

    Now the view looks more like what I have seen of Pinterest which I have avoided using. There appears to be an endless column of images with meme like descriptions attached. Long hold renders a menu but save image is not an option.

    This sounds a lot like the changes most of you ate discussing about a year ago. Did it take a year for Google to catch up to Android or was there some new development?

  • Nice idea but the main problem with Image Search is when they are not as crisp as the first picture is and it’s too small and unimportant to be in the top of the screen.

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