Anyone with a website or a blog scours the Internet for images that they can use for publication. However, as many have eventually learned, finding images that can be reused for free without any caveats from the owners of the images has proven to be quite tricky. Over the years, countless bloggers and webmasters have already found themselves at the receiving end of emails requesting that images they have used for certain posts be taken down or face legal action.
Thankfully, Google has done something that will certainly make life a lot easier for bloggers and webmasters alike. With its latest update to Google Image Search, the search engine giant now allows users to sort results by license, which will then make it easier for them to find Creative Commons or public domain images that they can actually use for free for their own publications.
Buried in the advanced search options
Actually, the option to sort Google image search results by license has already been in place for some time, but it was quite inaccessible being buried in the advanced search options. It’s even safe to say that very few people knew about the existence of this license search filter and actually used it. With a minor tweak to its placement, the feature will now be known to everyone.
Accessing the Google image search feature is quite simple. Once you’ve typed in your Google image search and the results have already come up, just click “Search Tools” on the image results page, and you’ll see a drop-down menu for usage rights right next to the usual search settings such as size, color, time and type. Upon clicking the drop-down menu, you will see that the “not filtered by license” option is set as default, but users can change the setting to “labeled for reuse”, “labeled for commercial reuse”, “labeled for reuse with modification”, and “labeled for commercial reuse of modification”.
License search filter long in place in Flickr
Then again, it’s a little curious that it took Google this long to make this Google image search feature readily apparent to the average user. After all, Flickr and other stock photography websites have been offering this type of license search filter in their image search results for some time now. Last summer, Microsoft’s Bing launched its own license search filter. It actually took a request from law professor and Creative Commons founding member Lawrence Lessig before Google decided to make the change to Google image search.
In any case, bloggers and webmasters still need to be a bit more careful about picking images even if they’re using a license search filter. After all, there are many websites that republish photos allowing for reuse, but do not actually own the images in question. On the other hand, users can still determine not only the original owner of any given picture but their correct licensing as well by Google’s reverse image search.
So whether you’re a blogger looking for a good photo to go with your new post or just a typical Internet troll who wants a neat picture for a meme you’re creating, this bit of news from Google ought to make you happy. However, if you are a photographer, then that is an entirely different story.