Google’s ‘View Image’ Button Removed to Deter Copyright Theft

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but professional photographers would probably disagree. When someone steals and uses a photographer’s photo without paying for it or seeking permission, it cuts into his or her revenue. To deter photo and image theft such as this, Google has removed the “View Image” button from its search engine.

According to TheVerge, photographers have pushed Google to take a more aggressive stance towards the theft of copyrighted images. Many photographers believed the search engine giant’s “View Image” button made it easy for nefarious individuals to steal their work. As a result, Google has removed this button, forcing users to visit the site to access the full-sized version of the image.

Previously, users could click the “View Image” button from within Google Images to see the full-sized version of an image. And if they wanted to steal it, they could right-click to save the image to their computer or storage device. With this button gone, however, users must now visit the publisher’s site to download and steal an image.

Another possible reason for Google’s decision to remove this age-old button from its search engine is increased ad revenue. According to Investopedia, roughly 90 percent of the company’s earnings come from advertising, particularly its AdWords program. By forcing users to visit the publisher’s website to access full-sized images, Google will generate more ad impressions and clicks, which means more advertising revenue.

Of course, this alone isn’t going to stop people or organizations from stealing images. Photographers and digital designers, however, can use Google’s Reverse Search tool to see if other websites are using their photos or images without their permission. As the name suggests, this tool searches the internet for instances of a particular image. You upload an image to Google’s Reverse Search tool, and it reveals any websites or web pages displaying the same image.

There’s no way to stop all instances of copyright theft. Google’s latest change to remove the “View Image” button from its search engine, however, is a step in the right direction. While some users prefer the old method, this will undoubtedly stop some users from stealing images and photos.

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