A WebmasterWorld thread has SEOs and webmasters upset about a recent drop in traffic from Google Image search. It is the same type of complaints when Google redesigned image search in 2013. Not all countries saw that redesign and traffic for the countries that didn't get the redesign did not change much.
It seems that Google France, Google Germany and many many other local versions of Google has recently adopted the new design. When Google launched that new design for image search they had to tell webmasters it is better for them even though many were not happy.
In any event, it seems it has been pushed out to other countries now and they are noticing huge declines in Google traffic. Of course, Google argued the traffic they initially saw was not real traffic but how Google sourced the image from their site while still on Google search.
Here are some of the comments from the thread:
Has anyone noticed that image search traffic has vanished
I think it happened sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday when traffic from images.google.fr, images.google.de, and other international image searches just all of a sudden disappeared.
Someone mentioned that they rolled out the new image search design to those countries? (As in, they used to show the actual page vs. making users click a button now) Is this true?
My images aren't being removed, they are still there, its just the referrer traffic that is gone. I mean its not a huge deal even though it is like 8% of my traffic because that traffic had like a 90% bounce rate.
I am surprised they didn't do this earlier, why wait 3+ years? Maybe there were legal issues?
Update: The data anomalies page now has a note about this, but not sure if this is the direct issues?
February 7 – Ongoing (Germany and France only)
A logging issue is causing loss of image search data for image searches originating from Germany and France. This issue effects only the Search Analytics data, not image presence in Google Image Search.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.