It seems like Google has always had a “View Image” button that opened up the image in a new tab and allowed users to download the image without having to visit the site that hosted it. That’s no longer the case, because as part of its recent settlement with Getty Images, Google has removed the View Image button from image search.
The change comes from a complaint filed against the search giant to the European Union by Getty Images in 2016 in which the Getty claimed that Google’s image search functionality promoted piracy and gave people easy access to high-resolution photos and eliminated the need to view them on the original source site.
So now Google and Getty Images have reached an agreement, with Google now obtaining a multi-year license to use Getty’s photos in its products and it has also agreed to make some changes to its image search and this is the end result of that agreement. While it should not affect most users at all, it is noticeably missing. The Visit button remains which means that users will now have to visit the website where the image is hosted and locate it on the webpage before they can download it. That seems only fair.
Google says this will “strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.”