Getty Images announced today that it has come to an agreement with Google that includes a global licensing partnership between the two companies and accompanying changes to Google Images.

If you search for images on Google Images right now, you may click on the “view image” button on the results page to load (an often) larger version of the linked image directly.

Getty Images lodged anti-competitive complaints against Google in the European Union and the United States for including functionality on Google Images to download high-resolution stock photography on the site.

Users can view and download images on Google Images without ever visiting the site the photo was posted on in first place.

The official announcement on Getty Images press site reveals little about the agreement but an email sent to companies and photographers who cooperate with Getty Images provides details on the agreement.

google images view image button

Getty Images notes in the email, seen by Peta Pixel, that the company withdrew its complaint because Google recognized the company’s concerns. Google agreed to make changes to its image search engine to address Getty Images’ concerns according to the email, and that it would benefit all image owners globally”.

Google will remove the “view image” button and make copyright notices on Google Images more prominent on top of that.

While it is unclear right now whether the change will affect only Getty Images images on Google Images or all images, it is quite possible that Google will remove the functionality completely from its image search engine.

This is all speculation right now, however, as Google has not landed the changes yet that it promised to make as part of the agreement that it entered with Getty Images.

Here is a short list of Google Images alternatives that you may want to use if Google pulls the functionality from its image search engine completely.

  • Bing Images is Google Images biggest rival in the United States. Click on a result to view a larger version of the image which you can save by right-clicking on it and selecting the “save image” option from the context menu.
  • Startpage comes with image search functionality. Simply type a search term and switch to images to use it. It features a “view image” link that opens the image anonymously.
  • Yahoo Images is another big image search engine. It features a “view image” button to display the linked image directly in the web browser.

Now You: What’s your take on the upcoming changes to Google Images?

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