Google often makes changes to it’s search pages, sometimes they are relatively positive, but when they remove functionality it is bound to upset someone.
Google last week decided to remove the option to View Image and Search By Image. These may not seem like large changes, and to be fair they are not huge changes for the average user. The changes instead serve to upset those that they would be wise not to upset, the established Geek subsection of the internet.
Let’s first look at what they did:
This may sound like I’m taking the mickey a little, but it allowed you to view the image. Away from the original website you were able to see the original image in all its glory. This was a bit of a negative for the original website. First of all it meant that you didn’t have to visit the full site and it allowed the user to view the image separately. The user would click this button and be taken to a page with just the image on it. But it also meant that people could easily steal the image and use it for their own evil ends. Of course, that’s still possible, but they would have to visit the original site to do so. However, when users visit the original site the image may not be visible on the page, pretty frustrating, eh?
Search By Image:
It’s a little more specialised, but this is the one that I will actually miss that little more as it was so damn convenient.
Essentially, once you found an image in Google Image Search, you would then have the option to use that image to search, allowing you to find versions with different resolutions, sizes or even slightly altered versions. Without this, you would have to find the image, save it and then drag it into a search box to search by the image, and then click on images so that you are not just searching for versions of it throughout the web. Certainly a little more arduous that what we had.
Now, if you follow the ins and outs of the search giant, you will know full well that they don’t really want you to have to visit a website to do anything, you can do it in search, that’s all the better for them, hence featured snippets and google shopping. So why are they changing their tune in this instance? Well, it’s actually all down to Getty Images.
“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.
Getty complained to the European Commision and this lead to Google removing the features, we imagine that this was an anti-competition ruling, effectively suggesting the Google is using it’s near-monopoly on search to the disadvantage of sites such as Getty Images. While we can see it’s point, it’s damn-well annoying.
How To Get Around It
While the days of the wild-west of the internet are definitely behind us, people still find wonderful ways to get around the issues thrust upon us by the modern superpowers such as Google. My favourite comes in the form of a Chrome plug in (poetic that Chrome’s features should help to solve Google’s own shortcomings).
Using the View Image plug in, it simply re-adds the button in the exact same position and provides the exact same functionality. It really is that simple. If a little frustrating.
You Mentioned Bing..?
Bing, the forgotten, younger, slightly awkward search sibling, still exists. Did you know that? A lot of people tend to forget about it.
The great thing about Bing is that the image and video search functions are both (now) way ahead of Google’s search functions.
The video search has long been used by people searching for erotic videos online thanks to the ability to watch the video in search results, allowing you to bypass the awful ads. I’ve not used it though. I promise.
The Bing image search is, quite simply, near-identical to Google’s image search as it existed last week. It still contains the tools that you require and has a great search algorithm.
I work in Marketing and Google is our Lord and Saviour, but I personally still love Bing, it’s a great search engine with some fantastic tools. Whenever I mention this to many fellow search specialists I get met with grimaces and disgusted looks. But, seriously, take a look at it. There are very few reasons to simply stick with Google at the moment, you should take a look at Bing (other than the number of ads, they have seriously gone overboard with that).