You’ve probably noticed by now that Google has removed the “View Image” button from its Image Search. The decision helped Google to settle its dispute with Getty, but it has made many users unhappy. The community, then, is finding ways to reclaim the View Image button, somehow or another.
Since Google removed the “View Image” button, you can only view a hi-res photo if you visit the website where it’s hosted. According to Google, its settlement with Getty was only partially responsible for this change. The company hopes that this should balance “serving user needs and publisher concerns.” Google also emphasizes that this is “good for everyone”: users, web publishers, and copyright holders.
However, it appears that users don’t agree with Google. I must admit I don’t think it’s too much of an effort to just visit the website and download the image you want. However, while it works in theory, real life is something else. As one of the commenters pointed out, sometimes it takes forever to find the photo you want when you visit the website where it’s hosted. Occasionally you can’t even access the website. All this makes it harder for the users to view or download the photos they want.
Google has reportedly made the change in order to reduce piracy, but not all images out there are protected by copyright. There are plenty of public domain and creative commons photos that you can find via Google Image Search. And not everyone uses the “View Image” option to steal photos on purpose. Of course, many people do it unknowingly.
Because Google’s new policy is inconvenient for users, they are finding ways to make use of the “View Image” button again. Some are switching to other search engines like Bing, DuckDuckGo or Startpage. Those who prefer using Google are installing browser extensions that enable them to use the “View Image” button again.
There are ways to bypass the latest changes made by Google, and people have certainly found them pretty quick. Still, do be aware that many photos are protected by copyright. Even if you use an alternative method for accessing photos directly, keep this in mind and play fair.