Using Google and Yahoo! for finding free images
There are those that believe that any image available on the Net is theirs for the taking. They go to Google image search, find a picture they like and add it to their blog or site.
The fact is that nearly all images found on the web is the property of the photographer. You are not allowed to use them without his or her permission, unless the images are very old or there is a licence that allows for this kind of use.
Creative Commons (CC) provides the most popular way of tagging images for public use.
Flickr advanced search
You may use Flickr’s advanced search to find CC images, but now the major search engines are adding this search functionality as well.
Yahoo! Image Search
Next tick off “Creator allows reuse” and select either “Commercial use” and/or “Remix, tweak, build upon”.
If you click on any of the images found in the new search results , Yahoo! will add information regarding to what extent the photographer allows for commercial and other types of reuse.
It seems this function is limited to images from Flickr, probably because Flickr is the only sizable service that allows for this kind of systematic tagging.
Google image search
Google has also added this search function to their image search engine, although they do not make it easy for you to find it.
As a matter of fact, there are no filters directly available, neither in the regular search interface nor in the advanced one.
Search Engine Land, however, has presented a few parameters you may add to the search string URL to filter out images in the public domain:
- Public Domain Images: Add &as_rights=cc_publicdomain to the URL
- Creative Commons Attribution Images: Add &as_rights=cc_attribute to the URL
- Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Images: Add &as_rights=cc_sharealike to the URL
This feature is obviously being tested and Google is proably going to add it to their advanced search options when the testing is done.
We can’t see that Bing provides filters like these.
By the way, the image used in this article is a Creative Commons licenced photo. We use a WordPress plug-in that lets us search Flickr directly from the blog publishing tool for such images.