Google is introducing a novel feature called “About this Image” to Google Search, aimed at providing valuable context and information regarding images in search results. First revealed at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, this feature is now being made available to English users worldwide. It can be accessed through the three-dot menu within both Google Search and Google Images, enhancing the user experience. Alongside this, Google is also revealing updates to its Fact Check Explorer initiative and the AI-powered Search Generative Experience.
“About this Image” for Enhanced Understanding
About this Image is designed to offer insights into an image’s origins, including any available metadata, and to provide vital context based on how it has been described by news sources and fact-checking sites over time. Users can now learn when the image was initially indexed by Google Search and gain insights into whether it was created using artificial intelligence (AI). This addition complements Google’s existing “About this Result” feature, which assists users in evaluating text-based sources.
The timing of this release is critical as a surge in misinformation, particularly related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, has led to the dissemination of images without appropriate context. The “About this Image” tool is intended to assist individuals who seek to understand the origins of images shared on social media and other platforms, meeting the growing demand for source verification.
Notably, the announcement does not mention the ability to perform an image search using Google Lens to access the “About this Image” feature. Google had previously announced plans for such functionality earlier in the year, along with the intention to make it accessible through right-click or long-press options on images in Chrome or via a swipe-up gesture within the Google App. Google spokesperson Ned Adriance indicated that these additional methods of access are still under development and testing and will be made available in the coming months.
Empowering Users for Informed Image Decisions
While the “About this Image” feature has the potential to serve as a valuable tool for source verification, it ultimately relies on users taking proactive steps to verify the origins of the images they encounter. Recent events have underscored the ease with which misleading images can be shared on social media without proper scrutiny. This new tool aims to empower users to make informed decisions when encountering images online.
In addition to “About this Image,” Google is also highlighting an enhancement to its Fact Check Explorer. Currently in beta, this tool allows users to search for image fact-checks by uploading an image or using its URL. Google is taking it a step further by introducing a new API to facilitate integration into the workflows of fact-checkers and journalists.