Google’s New Image Verification Tool Can Help Spot AI Fakes

Google’s “About This Image” tool, announced last May during Google I/O, combs an image’s metadata to find context and identify if it’s an AI fake or not. The tool is now rolling out as part of Google’s updated search tools.

The improved Google Search now has tools built-in to help users find verified or “fact-checked” information to help make sense of what they are seeing online. According to the announcement from Google, first spotted by Endgadget, this improved search offers users three new ways to get more context about the images they find online.

The available expanded context includes an image’s history, where users will be able to see when an image or similar images were first seen by Google Search and if it’s been published on other websites, how other websites use and describe the image to assess claims being made about an image and to see evidence and perspectives from other sources, and finally the image’s actual metadata, when available, that includes when and possibly where the image was generated and if it has been created or enhanced by an artificial intelligence (AI) tool. According to Google, any images generated by Google’s AI technologies will have this markup embedded in the original file.

Users can access this tool by clicking the three dots on an image in Google Image results, or by clicking “more about this page” in the “About this result” tool on search results.

In addition to this new set of features, Fact Check Explorer will give journalists and fact checkers a “deeper way to learn about an image or topic. Powered by claim review mark up that helps Google detect and display a fact check, Fact Check Explorer lets users find fact checks which have been investigated by independent organizations from around the world.” This new tool will let you load the URL or actual image into the fact check explorer and see if it has been featured anywhere else in an existing fact-check scenario. It will also provide users with an overview of the different context associated with the image and the evolution of that content over time, which should help reduce investigation time into an image bringing fact-checking online quicker.

According to the announcement from Google, these tools will all work together with a generative AI to help get better descriptions of sources, businesses, and content when browsing using Google Search. These new AI-generated descriptions will be visible in the “more about this page” section of the “About this result” tool when no existing overview from sites like Wikipedia or Google Knowledge Graph exists.

While the new tools look incredibly useful, they still rely on users to actively take steps to check and verify the image source(s) on their own. More details about the new API’s and tools can be found on Google’s official blog.

Image credits: Google