Google Search this month unveiled three new features to help users verify images and sources online. These new features are part of Google's ongoing efforts to help users navigate what they see online.
- About this image: This feature provides users with information about the history and context of an image, including when it was first seen by Google Search, whether it was previously published on other websites, and how it is used and described by other sources. This information can help users assess the credibility of an image and avoid being misled by misinformation.
- Fact Check Explorer image search: Fact Check Explorer is a tool that helps journalists and fact checkers find fact checks that have been investigated by independent organizations around the world. Google is now adding image search functionality to Fact Check Explorer, allowing users to search for fact checks of specific images. This will make it easier for fact checkers to investigate images and bring image fact checks online quicker.
- AI-generated descriptions of sources: Google is starting to experiment with how generative AI can be used to generate descriptions of sources, supported by information on high-quality sites that talk about that website. These descriptions will show up in the "more about this page" section of About this result for some sources. Google says this is still in the early stages of development, but Google hopes that it can be a useful tool for helping users learn more about the sources they are reading.
In a 2023 study by the Poynter Institute's digital media initiative MediaWise, 70% of respondents said they were not totally or very confident in their ability to tell when online images are authentic and reliable. Google's new features are designed to help users feel more confident about the information they are seeing online.