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As a photographer, I’m always concerned about how to protect my images online. Google’s image search has taken a subtle change that will have a drastic impact on copyright infringement.

HOW DOES THE CHANGE IMPACT US?

We can all say goodbye to the “view image” button from Google search. This means in order to access images found when browsing the web, you’ll have to click through directly to the page in order to view them. Google hopes adding this extra layer of security will make people less likely to steal copyrighted images.

GOOGLE MAKES A NEW FRIEND IN GETTY

This seemingly small change reflects the acknowledgment of Google’s new partnership with Getty Images, allowing the two to benefit from each other’s vast network of images,  whereas previously they were in competition.

DOES GOOGLE REALLY HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS?

Although the intention seems to be to prevent website browsers from accessing copyrighted images, it’s also worth pointing out that Google now has another conveniently placed strategic tactic up their sleeve. Image search will be driving more people to sites that potentially serve display ads, ultimately resulting in an increase in revenue and digital ad spend.

Photographers and image publishers may rejoice, but it may just prove to be a nuisance to those who will still find the workaround to take those images (and there are still ways).

LET’S RECAP THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF THIS CHANGE TO WEB OWNERS AND BUSINESSES:

  • Add a layer of protection between image theft and commercial and editorial copyright for professional photographers, publishers, and stock photography websites
  • Forced-driven traffic to a web site which would otherwise be skipped. Possibly more revenue for targeted display ads and conversions for web ads and organic traffic.