Google said it had removed some features from image search, including the "view image" button. "This is a benefit to all image owners globally and we expect this to have a positive impact on traffic to our site." said the iStock team at The Getty Images, in a message sent to the iStock clients.
The decision comes partially from a settlement with Getty Images in which Google agreed to show more copyright and attribution information for the photos in search results. Interestingly, two years ago, Getty Images had filed an official complaint against Google with the European Commission.
Some users have stated that this is actually a good thing because Bing has a really good image and video search that isn't basked in censorship or politically motivated means to feed you certain kinds of topics or imagery. Getty Images acquires photographs depicting everything from current world news events, to nature, to commercial stock images. However, the button is no more and it looks like we have Getty Images to thank, at least in part, for it being removed. However, it is a difficult task as some of the websites disable the ability to right-click, which will make it harder for users to download an image. Users can right click on the image and select "Save images as" or "Open image in new window" to save their pictures. Getty Images sells photos online for a living, and the company accused Google of anti-competitive practices. This was obviously useful for many reasons, especially - in the case of some of us here at Techaeris - getting access to full-size screenshots or press photos for news, reviews, and articles.
Tucked away in the announcement of the view image button was a second announcement via Twitter that the search by image function was also being removed. Yes, that's not a glitch but Google's way of securing copyrights and generating revenue for websites that host those images.