In an era where misinformation is a global concern, Google is upgrading its search capabilities by introducing two features to enhance information and visual literacy.
A 2022 Poynter study revealed that 62% of people believe they encounter misinformation daily or weekly, highlighting the urgent need for effective tools to identify and counter false information.
As digital content creators continue to leverage AI to produce images, these features will allow users to assess the context and credibility of images found online.
About This Image: A New Tool For Context
The first update, called “About this image,” is slated to launch in the coming months.
The tool is designed to offer users a broader context around an image, including:
- The time when Google first indexed the image and similar ones.
- The image’s original appearance site.
- Other online platforms where the image has been displayed, such as news sites, social media, and fact-checking websites.
This background information can assist users in determining an image’s reliability or whether it necessitates a more thorough examination.
For instance, “About this image” could reveal that an image depicting a staged moon landing was highlighted in news articles when found to be AI-generated.
This tool can be accessed through the following means:
- Clicking on the three dots on an image in Google Images results.
- Searching with an image or screenshot in Google Lens.
- Swiping up in the Google App when viewing a page with an image
- Right-clicking or long-pressing on an image in Chrome on desktop and mobile (coming later this year).
AI-Generated Images Get A Markup
Google’s second announcement pertains to AI-generated images.
As generative image capabilities are rolled out, every AI-generated image will have a markup in the original file. This is designed to provide context if the image is encountered outside Google’s platforms.
Creators and publishers will have the ability to add similar markups. This means users can see a label in images in Google Search, marking them as AI-generated.
This feature will be available from several publishers, including Midjourney and Shutterstock, in the coming months.
A Continuous Commitment To Information Literacy
The introduction of “About this image” and AI-generated image markups are the latest in a series of features aimed at helping users make sense of what they find online.
These updates are in line with Google’s ongoing commitment to information literacy.
In recent years, Google has introduced similar features like the “About this result” tool, which helps you see more information about a source or topic.
As the web continues to evolve, these updates provide users with crucial tools to navigate the digital landscape confidently and accurately.