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Last update on October 17, 2023

Google Adds AI Image Generation to Search Bar and Indemnity for AI Image Users

4 min read
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Google has announced a new feature that will let users generate images directly from the search bar using AI. Powered by Google Imagen, users signed into Labs and SGE can now command Google's search bar to create computer-created images based on a written description. 

Subsequently, the company has established a legal backing of users of its AI image generator in a two-pronged approach: whether someone claims that Google’s AI tools infringe copyright with its training datasets or that the image you generated with them goes against their intellectual property, the firm will have your back.

AI Image Generation in Google Search

Recently, Google announced a new feature in its Search Generative Experience segment that lets users generate images from text prompts on the search bar. 

While before, you would type a search on Google and only get a written response back, this new function enables image responses, too. Powered by Google Imagen technology, this is an AI image generator built on the search bar. 

ai image generation on google search

The feature will soon be available within Google Images, too, so you can opt to synthesize an image when your search doesn’t bring up the specific picture you need. You can also combine this tool with Google Lens, so you can use the AI image generation to visualize an idea and then use the AI-generated picture as a reference for Lens to find real-life products that match your concept. Very interesting. 

ai image generation on google images

All images generated by this tool will include SynthID, the firm's proprietary invisible watermark to signal AI-generated media.

There's also a plan for a tool called “About this image” to help users verify images' context and credibility. It will provide information like when and where Google first saw a similar image or show other pages on the web that use a similar picture. 

The company highlights that it has safeguards in place to avoid the potential misuse of this technology, with protocols that prevent the creation of inappropriate or misleading content. They haven’t said anything about whether you get ownership of images you generate on Google, only that you get to use them much more carefreely than third-party images aggregated by Google Images –since those are often copyrighted. 

The downside, however, is that this isn’t available for all Google users. To access the AI-generating feature, you must be signed in to both Google Labs and SGE, be in the United States, speak English, and be above 18. 

Legal Backing of AI-Generated Images from Google

And then yesterday, Google communicated that it would legally protect users of its generative AI tools from copyright infringement claims made against them. A move triggered after the above-detailed new features in Search that hopes to ease customers' worries over any potential legal issues that might come from using Google’s AI technology.

What is innovative is that Google’s legal protection is two-pronged:  training data and generated output. So if a third party claims that Google's AI tools have infringed on their copyright – whether the infringement took place in the primary data used for training the AI or in the final content produced by the AI (under the user’s command) – Google will step in to defend the user.

However, there's a caveat. Google's protection services won't be available for users who intentionally create or use AI to violate other people's rights.

All in all, this is a rather interesting development, worth watching closely. It could transform how we search for things online and help define the still-incipient and continuously evolving legal frame for AI-generated images. 

Will you try AI image generation on Google Search? Let us know!


Ivanna Attie

All About Ivanna

I am an experienced author with expertise in digital communication, stock media, design, and creative tools. I have closely followed and reported on AI developments in this field since its early days. I have gained valuable industry insight through my work with leading digital media professionals since 2014.

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