Google promised this last May: its image verification tool is now available in the search engine. It allows you to know its history in two clicks.
This is a new option in the Google search engine, only in the American version in English, initially, and therefore via the google.com address, you will not find it – not yet – on google.fr.
To use it, it’s very simple: on google.com, in the section dedicated to image search, each image you click appears larger, on the right of the page, and is topped by an icon with three dots on top of each other. So far nothing new. On the other hand, if you click on these three dots, you discover – in the menu that appears – a new item: About this image”, “About this image in French. So, click a second time, this time to discover Google information about the image in question.
The time since Google first indexed an image
Fairly brief information at the moment, but the search engine gives us the most important one, which is when this image was indexed by Google for the first time.
I searched and found – apparently anyway – a picture of the bombings that occurred this week in the Gaza Strip. I then activated the verification tool by clicking on the three dots and then on About this image and Google told me the following: “A copy of this photo is at least one year old.”. It therefore cannot be consistent with the events that followed the Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7.
Another example with another photo, of a man shot in the head, in front of the still burned remains of a house. I run the scan and Google tells me: “This photo appears to have appeared online recently.”. With this very important first reference, we can then go back to the sources, since all the sites that use this image are listed directly below.
The seriousness and legitimacy of the media that published it, or not, is an element that must be taken into consideration. Some were also able to put this image on the Internet, because it showed that it was being used to manipulate Internet users. In my case, everything is clear: it is an image first published by AFP on Monday 23 October on ledevoir.com.
Artificial Intelligence: Soon mentioned
Only one unfortunate thing: Google presents these results out of order. Instead of scrolling through pages and pages of results, as is the case with some images, it would be nice to reach, at first glance, the website that first published it.
Next step: mention the images generated by artificial intelligence. Google has entered into its first agreement with Midjourney, a leading AI services company for image creation, and with Shutterstock, one of the most popular image banks.