Google is launching a tool that helps users to identify whether a picture is AI-generated

Google is launching a tool that helps users to identify whether a picture is AI-generated
CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • AI-generated images of the Pope and Donald Trump have gone viral in recent months.
  • Google is adding a new feature to make it easier to spot whether a picture is generated by AI.

Google is launching a new feature this summer that allows users to see if a picture is AI-generated thanks to hidden information embedded in the image, the company announced Wednesday.

The search giant unveiled a host of new products and features at the Google I/O conference in Silicon Valley, with a particular emphasis on AI.

In Wednesday's blog post, Google's product manager for search, Cory Dunton, explained: "When you're trying to figure out if a piece of information or an image is reliable, having the full story is key."

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The new tool in its search function, which is dubbed: "About this image" – tells users more about when the picture was first indexed by Google, where it may have first appeared, and if it's appeared on news or fact-checking websites.

It will be available either by clicking on the three dots above an image on search results, searching with Google Lens, or by swiping up in the Google app.


And as Google rolls out its own text-to-image generator, the company says it will include data so viewers know that it was created by AI.

"We will ensure that every one of our AI-generated images has a markup in the original file to give you context if you come across it outside of our platforms," Dunton said. He added that several image publishers including Shutterstock and Midjourney would launch similar labels in the coming months.

Alongside OpenAI's DALL-E, Midjourney is one of the better-known AI image generators. It was the tool used to create the image of Pope Francis wearing a lavish white puffer coat that went viral in March.

But that's a more innocent example of how this technology can be used. Midjourney has also come under scrutiny for creating fake images of Donald Trump being arrested.