Google Image Search Will Now Show a Photo’s History
But it’s not a surefire safeguard against misinformation
Online, the spread of misinformation is a massive problem online, and generative AI is only helping boost the creation of inauthentic or real-but-repurposed media. Even in the pre-generative-AI era, an image surfaced through a quick Google search might have been used out of context or attached to a less-than-reliable website.
Google believes it has at least one solution for this problem. In Google image search results, users will start seeing an information box called "About this image." It rolls out today in the United States (and initially only in English). This follows the launch of "About this result" in 2021, which provides additional information around the source of a Google search result, and "About this author" in early 2023, which offers context around the author of a page.
The new image tool is supposed to give context around three specific areas: When the image (or similar ones) were first indexed by Google, which website it may have first appeared on and where else it has appeared online, such as on social media. Google also says it plans to indicate if a photo previously has been fact-checked.
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