If you’re a frequent user of Google’s Image search, then you probably noticed that the company recently removed the ‘View Image” button from search results.
The button would allow you to look at a full-size version of a photo without having to visit the page where it’s published. For instance, you might be able to look at the big picture of a laptop I posted above without ever seeing this post that it’s attached to.
It was useful if you wanted to snag a picture to use for something like your desktop background or the top of a Facebook event, but it also caused a good deal of copyright infringement, leading Google to remove the option thanks to a new deal it made with Getty Images.
If you were a frequent user of the feature, you can still get a similar experience through another search engine: Startpage.
The browser is focused on privacy and provides Google’s search results but with no targeted ads and more privacy. Also, as Ghacks notes, it still has a “View Image” button that can be used exactly how the old one was on Google proper.
This is true. The “View image” button is handy for grabbing an innocent desktop background pic. But the ability to view images and other texts anonymously is also important for privacy and civil liberties.
Restricting anonymous viewing of any Internet content could have serious implications for privacy and intellectual freedom if people are required to identify themselves in order to view it. It’s a slippery slope. Now it’s about seeing a big HD version of the image. Tomorrow it could be about any version and even proprietary text.
Consider that Getty images are often associated with news articles. That’s one of the main reason Getty images are indexed in the first place. This is not just about the Getty website. It’s about the ability to access content in the public domain anonymously.