A recent change has made it more difficult to save an image from Google’s image search in an attempt to placate photo library company Getty Images. Last year, Getty Images accused Google of anti-competitive practices, filing a complaint with regulators at the European Commission. As a result, Google removed its “view image” button, making it harder to download and save a Getty Images photo without paying for it.
Getty Images said the move was a “significant milestone,” with Google agreeing to display more copyright information in search results and rerouting users to websites where they could find a photo available to license.
But some critics say the Google Image change is “awful” and “user-unfriendly,” claiming that it has degraded Google’s product. “This is a terrible idea…you find an image on Google Images only for the image to be nowhere in sight,” one Twitter user said. “Talk about destroying your own successful service.”
Many users even suggested defaulting to rival search engines like Bing, which still have a “view image” button. Others pointed out hacks to avoid the change, like right clicking an image in the Chrome browser and clicking “open image in new tab” which still allows users to download a photo.
In a recent statement, Getty said, “We are pleased to announce that after working cooperatively with Google over the past months, our concerns are being recognized and we have withdrawn our complaint.”
While this will definitely change a key aspect of Google as we know it, it’s important to consider copyright laws and the rights of photographers who rely on copyright payments for their livelihoods.