Google Unveils New Tools to Combat Misinformation in Images

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The rise in the use of images and videos on social media platforms has been accompanied by a dangerous increase in misinformation. In response, Google has stepped up to the plate with an announcement that it will provide more contextual information about an image to prevent false information from spreading.

In an age where misinformation can spread like wildfire, Google uses robust tools to fact-check images.

Understanding ‘About this Image’ Features

The new set of tools includes the capability to view an image’s history, metadata, and the context in which it was used on different sites. These “About this image” features were announced by Google earlier this year and are now globally available to all English speakers.

With these features, users can understand when the image was first “seen” by Google Search, providing insight into the recency of a context. The tool also lets users understand how people described the idea on other sites, thereby helping to debunk any false claims associated with the image.

AI-Generated Images and Metadata

Apart from these, Google has also mentioned that when available, users can see metadata, including fields to indicate if it is an AI-generated image. The company has stated that it marks all images created by Google AI. In October, Adobe and companies like Microsoft, Nikon, and Leica released a symbol to mark AI-generated images.

These new image tools can be accessed by clicking the three-dot menu on Google Images results or through the “more about this page” option on the “About this result” tool.

Fact-Checking Tools for Journalists and More

Furthermore, Google announced that approved journalists and fact-checkers can upload or copy URLs of images to learn more about them within their tools with FaceCheck Claim Search API. Earlier in June, the company started testing features with the Fact Check Explorer tool, which allows fact-checkers to explore fact-checks, references, and other details associated with a particular image.

Google is also experimenting with generative AI to help describe sources, such as a page of an unfamiliar seller or an unknown blog. Users who have opted-in to use Search Generative experience (SGE) will be shown AI-generated information about sites in the “more about this page section.”

Rise in Tech to Counter Misinformation

Given the rise in tech that has made it easy for users to create different images using generative AI, companies are working on tech to provide more information about images. In June, Adobe released an open-sourced toolkit to help apps and websites verify image credentials. Separately, X has launched Community Notes, a program for its crowdsourced fact-checking for images and videos.

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