Google Images Update Removes View Image and Image Search


Why did Google remove the view image button?

Quick Answer: With concerns about piracy, Google rolled out an update in 2018 which removed the “View Image” button—something that used to redirect users directly to the image’s URL. This bypassed the publisher’s page first, leading to the concern. In line with this update, Google also made its image search copyright disclaimer more prominent.


Two months into 2018, Google has been rolling out a slew of updates into their services. All of these updates aim to improve the user experience, and help make Google and its services much more reliable and efficient. Google Images is one of the most popular services that Google has to offer, and the latest update may prove to be divisive for most users.

The newest Google update removes the “View Images” feature, which allows users to be able to access an image without the need to access the website that contains it. This feature has provided convenience to its users, as they can use Google Images as a massive image providing platform that offers the widest variety.


What is the new Google Images Update?

With the new update, users can now only view images through the “Visit” button, which takes them to the webpage that contains the image. This means that users would have to access the website first, before retrieving the image from the internet. While the update might seem like a simple option change, it is one of the most frequently used buttons on the site, as it instantly leads users to the image in fewer clicks. Image search has also been removed as well. However, users would still be able to do a reverse image search on the website to look for images sources.

While the update might seem like a sudden change, it has been something that was bound to happen, due to the charges filed by Getty Images against Google. The accusation was that Google was promoting image piracy by giving users an easier way to access multiple images. This led to Google establishing a partnership with Getty, and updating Google images in order for the charges to be dropped.

What Does This Mean?

With the removal of the “View Image” button, users, must now search for the image, access the website where it came from, and download the image from there. While this will leave some users dissatisfied, this is one way to prevent rampant image piracy across the internet. There have been numerous cases in which images from the internet are copied and altered without the permission of the owner, and this would cause more trouble than it’s worth.

As stated by the Google Search Liaison Twitter account, the update aims to “help connect users and useful websites.” This not only helps users find the most suitable images, but also discover relevant websites that can give them more information and context with regards to the image.

We tried it out ourselves to see if we would be able to access the image through a website. I searched for an image of a sandwich, and see if I would be able to access the website it came from, along with being able to find the image.



I was able to access the image, along with the image source, which gives me a nice Italian sandwich recipe that looks delicious and healthy. While this may be accurate on certain sites, there have been numerous issues when it comes to certain images and websites. There are instances that websites do not contain the image within the website, while some websites are malicious and may harm your computer. This is an issue that needs a lot of ironing out in the upcoming months, as a lot of users use Google Images as their platform when looking for images.

SEO Implications

Seeing that users must access the website first before accessing the image, this can help increase the traffic that goes in different webpages across the internet. This is an update that can be taken advantage of by SEO practitioners, as optimizing the image text and alt text would make the image easier to look for on search engines, which in turn would help users discover your website.

It is best to make sure that your images are just as searchable as your content, and that a watermark is present to be protected in case of plagiarism or photo manipulation. Images are another effective way to improve your rankings and generate more traffic, as new users would be able to discover your website. Images are a very important element in your content, as it helps set the tone and message of your website.

Key Takeaway

While the update may frustrate a good amount of users during the first few months, it is a change that we have to deal with until another update rolls out. For SEO, this is an update that can be utilized to increase your rankings, and an opportunity to optimize your content to make it easier for users to find you. With more Google updates coming up this 2018, expect more changes in the search engine landscape.

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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.