Google Rolls Out ‘About this Image’ and Enhanced Fact Check Tools
Google announced on Wednesday the rollout of new features aimed at providing users with more context about images and sources found online. The announcement was made by Christopher Savčak, Group Product Manager, and Nidhi Hebbar, Senior Product Manager at Google.
The feature, called “About this Image,” is now available to English language users globally. It allows users to check the credibility and context of images by providing information such as the image’s history, how it is used on other web pages, and its metadata.
“This can be helpful if an image is being taken out of context and shared in relation to a current event, but it’s actually much older,” said the product managers.
In addition to “About this Image,” Google has also enhanced its Fact Check Explorer tool. This tool is particularly useful for journalists and fact-checkers, allowing them to upload or copy the URL of any image to see if it has been featured in an existing fact check. Since the release of this feature, over 70% of beta users reported that the new image features helped reduce their investigation time, says Google.
Google is also launching a beta version of Image Search functionality in its FactCheck Claim Search API. This will allow approved journalists and fact-checkers to search the fact-check image corpus on Fact Check Explorer via an API, integrating the knowledge into their own solutions.
The updates come at a time when the ability to verify online images is increasingly important. According to a 2023 study led by the Poynter Institute’s MediaWise, 70% of respondents reported not being totally or very confident in their ability to tell when online images are authentic and reliable.