Google Images new major update brings licensing badge on images

Google Images has always been the de-facto search tool for browsing images on the web. However, owners of copyrighted images had to resort to separately indexing watermarked images on the search engine in order to protect their properties from theft. A new update to Google Images adds a “Licensable” badge to images that make it easier for users to identify images that they have the right to freely use.

Image copyright law has always been a confusing topic of discussion, being almost impossible to enforce. Most users don’t even know that many images from stock image sites like Getty Images require the purchasing of a license to use that image in high resolution or for commercial purposes.

Realizing this, Google took the first step many years ago towards protecting the copyright of image owners by removing the “view full-sized image” option from their search engine. This encouraged users to visit the website of the image owner for details on downloading the full-sized image rather than allowing users to download from Google directly.

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Google has taken this another step further by introducing the new “Licensable” badge on the thumbnail of the image. Clicking on the image now brings up details about the image’s licensing terms and links to purchase rights. Licensors can also index the purchase link separately from Google’s image source link, making it easier for users to find the purchase page.

This also allows users to use the new “Usage Rights” filter that now allows you to filter results with Creative Commons licenses that can be more freely used.

“Google Images’ new features help both image creators and image consumers by bringing visibility to how creators’ content can be licensed properly,” says Shutterstock’s VP of content operations Paul Brennan. “We are pleased to have worked closely with Google on this feature, by advocating for protections that result in fair compensation for our global community of over one million contributors. In developing this feature, Google has clearly demonstrated its commitment to supporting the content creation ecosystem.”

Google Images is now a more responsible platform for finding images on the internet while protecting the content of image creators on the internet. It also makes it easier for users to understand the difference between free-to-use and licensable content.

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