The Button You Have Never Noticed, but Always Used, is Gone

If you’ve ever had to find an image on the Internet or browse for the perfect stock photo of a pancake, you’ve probably come across this button. A grey rectangular button made for presenters trying to fill up their Powerpoint slides, and graphic designers trying to Photoshop other people’s pictures. I’m talking about Google’s ‘View Image’ button.

What? It’s gone? Maybe you’ve just opened a new tab and looked up a random picture to see if it’s really true. Google struck a new deal with Getty Images, the largest stock image company in the world. Getty Images has a library of over 80 million photos. They’re the ones that take photos of celebrities at award shows, athletes at sporting events, and models at fashion shows.

Getty was concerned that the button allowed people to grab full-size copyright images at their leisure, without Getty receiving any monetary remuneration. Their entire business is focused on selling high-quality photos and video to professionals for their use, and by linking directly to the picture, Google was not giving credit to Getty, nor for that matter, any image publisher. Getty Images even brought on  a lawsuit against Google in 2016 for this very reason.

In the end, Google decided to make friends, not enemies with Getty Images. Their partnership allows Getty pictures to be searchable on Google Images, and in exchange, Google has removed the ‘View Image’ button. Photographers can now be sure that users have to visit the host website for the photo, indicating the original source of the image, and in most cases, pay for the rights to use the image. Rest in peace, ‘View Image’ button (2011-2018).

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