Back in May, Google unveiled a feature known as “about this image,” which provides users with verified information about any image found on the internet. This feature has now been integrated into Google Search, making it impossible to pass off someone else’s image, such as a 1988 Burger King Alf plushie photo, as your own.
Here’s how it operates: When using Google Search, select an image and click on the three dots located in the upper-right corner to access this tool. You’ll receive a wealth of valuable information, including the image’s original publication date, any subsequent publications, and its history of appearances over the years. It offers a comprehensive set of metadata.
The primary use case for this feature is to validate the authenticity of images used in connection with news events, ensuring they are not taken out of context, thus avoiding the spread of misinformation. In this regard, the tool also demonstrates how other websites employ and describe the image, similar to how search functions currently provide factual information through the “perspectives” filter and the “about this result” tab. Google mentions that you can access this feature by clicking on the “more about this page” link, with additional options in the pipeline.
Considering the ongoing prevalence of artificial intelligence, which can produce images that closely resemble real ones, Google’s tool also informs users whether an image has been AI-generated or not. This is contingent on the presence of metadata that includes this information, necessitating the original image creators to opt in. Google assures that its own AI-generated images will consistently contain the relevant metadata.
Moreover, Google is introducing other tools to enhance the intricacy of image searches. Fact Check Explorer, initially a valuable resource for journalists, is set to expand its capabilities to encompass images. For non-image-based searches, the tech giant is also unveiling software that generates AI-generated descriptions of websites, aiding users in their research on less well-known entities.