An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to

February 25, 2011

Google Docs, Image Search and Copyright

Google Docs lets you pick Image Search results and add them to your documents. That's a good thing, but this feature could have been better thought out.

Google restricts the results to images licensed as Creative Commons that can be used commercially and that can also be modified. These restrictions aren't always necessary, since not all documents are used for business purposes. Google also recommends to "only select images that you have confirmed that you have the license to use", but it doesn't link to the pages that included the images. Google doesn't even include a small caption next to the image with links to the Creative Commons license and the original web page.

While this feature makes it easy to add image search results to your documents, it doesn't encourage users to visit the web pages that embedded the images or to give credit to the image creators because it's quite difficult to find these pages. You need to visit Google Image Search, type your query, restrict the results to images "labeled for commercial reuse with modification" and find the image you've previously picked. That's a lot of unnecessary work.


  1. good thinking. this should be like tumblr's reblogging feature!

  2. This is pretty shocking. As a major publisher of Creative Commons work, I find the fact that Google pretty much promote copyright abuse very worrying.

    Copying a CC-licenced work without credit, is not honoring the CC license and therefore abuse of the normal default copyright

  3. Google could have used PicScout ImageExchange to show many more images that could be used out of its search result, it has API available


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.