Google Images Makes it Easier to Search by Usage Rights

Google Images Usage Rights Search

Google Images has made a great change to its search results. Users can now search for images with specific usage rates more easily. This will be extremely helpful for webmasters and others to find images that they can use for publishing on their own sites.

While Google has actually offered filtering based on photo licenses since 2009, it was a little-known search feature buried in the advanced search options. With the change, users can easily see it and filter the results accordingly.

To access it, simply click "Search Tools" on the image results page, and along with the usual search settings such as size and date, there is now a new drop-down for usage rights. The default is set to "not filtered by license" but users can change it to "labeled for reuse", "labeled for commercial reuse", "labeled for reuse with modification", and "labeled for commercial reuse of modification".

Sites such as Flickr, as well as stock photography sites that offer a variety of photo rights, have long had this type of filtering in their own search results. Bing began offering its own license search filter last summer, so it's surprising that Google took so long to make the change obvious to the average searcher.

As a word of caution, as with any image search, do be aware there are sites that republish photos allowing for reuse, but are actually not the original owner. However, using Google’s reverse image search can help determine the originating owner of an image and to determine what the correct licensing on the photo is.

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.