Revolutionizing Image Verification: Google’s ‘About this Image’ Unveiled!
Google has recently introduced its new “About this image” tool, aiming to provide users with essential background information and context about images found in Google Search. This feature, initially announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, is now available to English-speaking users worldwide. Users can access this feature through the three-dot menu present in Search and Google Images results.
Drop-down menu showing the “About this image” option.
The primary purpose of the “About this image” tool is to display the origins of an image, including its metadata (when available). It also provides crucial context about how the image has been described by news and fact-checking websites over time. For instance, users might see when the image was first indexed by Google Search. The metadata might also reveal if the image was AI-generated. Google already has an “About this result” feature that aids users in verifying text-based sources.
The introduction of this feature is timely, especially considering the vast amounts of misinformation being disseminated about the Israel-Hamas war. Often, unrelated images are shared out of context. Google’s tool aims to assist users in tracing the origins of such images shared on social platforms.
However, there’s no mention in the announcement about the ability to search using the image itself via Google Lens to access the “About this image” feature. Google had previously announced plans for this. They also mentioned making the tool accessible via a right-click or long-press on an image in Chrome or by “swiping up in the Google App when you’re on a page and come across an image you want to learn more about.” According to Google spokesperson Ned Adriance, these additional access methods are still under development and testing and will be launched in the upcoming months.
While the “About this image” tool holds promise, it still requires users to actively verify the source of an image. As recent events have shown, misleading images on social media platforms can easily be shared without users verifying their authenticity.
In addition to the “About this image” tool, Google is also emphasizing enhancements to its Fact Check Explorer. This tool, which was launched in beta earlier this summer, allows users to search for image fact-checks by either uploading an image or using its URL. Although still in beta, Google plans to release a new API to aid fact-checkers and journalists in integrating the Fact Check Explorer into their workflows.
Lastly, Google is exploring the use of generative AI to provide more information on online sources within its AI-powered Search Generative Experience. These AI-generated descriptions will appear in the “About this result” tool and are intended to supplement when existing sources like Wikipedia or the Google Knowledge Graph lack information on a lesser-known website.
Related: Google Article