Google Search's new tool for verifying an image’s origin and context goes global

Google Search bar on the home screen of the Google Pixel 6a
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out "About this image" for English-language users around the world looking to dig into the facts about images they find online.
  • This will deliver information on a photo's history (lifespan on Google), other websites that have used it, and stories about it.
  • Google is also bringing Image Search to its Fact Check Explorer for approved journalists.

With so much information and AI influence circling our world nowadays, Google is introducing some additional ways of weeding out fabrication.

According to a Google Keyword blog post, "About this image" is now rolling out to all English-language users globally in Search. Clicking the three-dot menu after tapping an image in Google Images will provide you with the "About this image" option. This feature is comprised of three aspects with the first involving a photo's "history."

Above the photo will be an estimation as to how old the image is (when it first appeared on Google). The next aspect is how other people or websites have used the image you're currently interested in.

This view will include news websites and fact-checkers, giving users insight into the "claims being made about an image, and to see evidence and perspectives from other sources."

The final bit is with regard to an image's metadata. Google states metadata will be displayed for photos if available and will include its creator and any publishers. Additionally, this will also contain fields indicative of any AI enhancements or generation. The company adds that any AI-generated images will have such information within its original file.

The feature was initially rolled out to users in the United States after its debut at this year's Google I/O conference.

Additionally, we have Image Search functionality arriving in beta for Google's Fact Check Explorer. Nestled within the FactCheck Claim Search API, approved journalists and fact-checkers can hop in and search for concrete information about a photo they've found online to ensure its credibility and use it in an upcoming piece.

Google's Fact Check Explorer will soon let approved journalists search for information about a photo for credibility.

(Image credit: Google)

This feature hasn't rolled out quite yet, so those in reporting fields will have to wait a little while longer before it arrives. Once it does, a new image icon will accompany the search magnifying glass currently featured on the Fact Check Explorer today.

When clicked, journalists can copy and paste an image's URL into the search bar and receive an extensive list of relevant information before moving forward with it. So long as information has been put into the claim review markup system, Google will display it accordingly.

Similar to the new imaging information Search is receiving, Google rolled out "About this result" at the end of September. It was integrated into SGE (Search Labs) to give users a better understanding of how its AI software went about collecting and displaying the information for a query. The page draws attention to other pages and content in its AI-generated summary.

Moreover, after introducing ways for users to generate their own AI-powered imagery through Search, this new "About this image" could help people further avoid grabbing something that looks real, but turns out to be computer-generated.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.