Go to Google, type in your image search, find one you like, click, view image and save. Done.

Well, not anymore!

Now search engine users will get the option to ‘visit website’ where they can expect to wait for the page to load, scroll down to the image and then be faced with the option to right click, or not, as some websites are now revoking that privilege too.

What is behind the change?

Does it tie in with their new multi-year global licensing deal with Getty Images for usage rights within various products and services? A tweet from Google Search Liaison (@SearchLiaison) addresses some of the questions regarding their reasons:

“For those asking, yes, these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week (see also The Verge). They are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.”

The tweet directs followers toward an article by The Verge, which notes that

“Google has long been under fire from photographers and publishers who felt that image search allowed people to steal their pictures, and the removal of the view image button is one of many changes being made in response.”

The report then goes on to mention the importance of driving traffic to the websites.

“The intention seems to be either stopping people from taking an image altogether or driving them through to the website where the image is found, so that the website can serve ads and get revenue and so people are more likely to see any associated copyright information.”