This week, Google Image Search is getting a lot less useful, with the removal of the “View Image” button. Before, users could search for an image and click the “View Image” button to download it directly without leaving Google or visiting the website. Now, Google Images is removing that button, hoping to encourage users to click through to the hosting website if they want to download an image.
Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, announced the change on Twitter yesterday, saying it would “help connect users and useful websites.” Later Sullivan admitted that “these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week” and that “they are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.”
Almost two years ago, Getty Images filed antitrust charges against Google in the EU, taking issue with the company’s image scraping techniques to display image search results. Earlier this week, Google and Getty Images announced a partnership and Getty withdrew its charges against Google. Changes like the removal of direct image links were apparently part of the agreement.