Google Images makes it easier to properly license photos

Google Search Image
Google Search Image (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google's new Images update make it easier to properly license photos for commercial use.
  • You'll also be able to filter between license types when searching on Google.
  • Google has worked with stock photo companies and image licensors to properly implement this feature.

Google Images is the best way to find pictures on the internet, but depending on what you're using those images for, it may not be the best place to find usable images. If you're using a photo for a school project or a quick meme between friends, you don't need to worry half the time. However, when it comes to using photos on things like blog posts or anything commercial, you need to make sure you have the proper usage rights, or else you risk exposing yourself to legal consequences (and the artist doesn't get paid or credited for their work.)

Google has worked with content creators and stock photo providers to integrate licensing information into the Google Images search interface. This will let you figure out if you can use an image for your project, whether free with credit or with a rights purchase. It'll also boost creators to potential customers, exposing information that may not otherwise be visible.

Francois Spies, Product Manager, Google Images, explains:

We're making it easier to find licensable images. For results where the publisher or image creator provided licensing information, we will display a "licensable" badge over the image. When you select a badged image to view, we will show a link to the license details of the image, and if provided by the publisher, you'll also find a link to where you can purchase or license the image.

Google will also update image search filters so that you can filter by license type. You can filter between the free "Creative Commons licenses" and "Commercial & other licenses."

Google notes that many image licensors have found the changes acceptable. For example, Ken Mainardis, SVP, Content, Getty Images & iStock by Getty Images, said:

"We live in a dynamic and changing media landscape where imagery is an integral component of online storytelling and communication for more and more people. This means that it is crucial that people understand the importance of licensing their images from proper sources for their own protection, and to ensure the investment required to create these images continues. We are hopeful Google's approach will bring more visibility to the intrinsic value of licensed images and the rights required to use them.

You can learn more about it here.

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Michael Allison