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Google removes 'view image' button from searches

The decision, sparked by complaints from Getty Images, doesn't please the masses.

Cosina Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 lens

Google is making it harder for people to use images found through search.

Leonard Goh/CNET Asia

Google has killed off its "view image" button following criticism from Getty Images.

In 2016, the stock- and news-photo service complained to the European Commission that Google's image search made it too easy for people to find and use images from Getty without proper attribution.

In response and as part of a new agreement between the two companies announced last week, Google has made it harder to save pictures from the search engine by removing certain features, including a button that allows people to view an image in isolation and a "search by image" button.

The change kicked in Thursday. 

"Today we're launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites. This will include removing the View Image button. The Visit button remains, so users can see images in the context of the webpages they're on," Google said Thursday in a tweet.

However, not everyone is okay with the tweak, and many are using Twitter to vent their anger.

Getty, by contrast, is relieved. "This agreement between Getty Images and Google sets the stage for a very productive, collaborative relationship between our companies," Dawn Airey, CEO of Getty Images, said in a statement.