Google starts displaying licensing details for image results

It will label 'Licensable' images and link you to where you can purchase them for use.


Google is making it a lot easier to find images you can legally use for your projects. The tech giant will now mark image results with a badge that says “Licensable” if their publishers or creators have provided their licensing information. You’ll get a link to those licensing details — say, if they’re under Creative Commons and can be used for free with attribution or if they have a commercial license — when you select an image to view.

The close-up view for an image result will also show you its copyright and creator. And if a publisher provides Google with information on how to purchase a photo for use, then you’ll get a link to the stock photo site or any other source where you can pay for it, as well.

Since sifting through a ton of images can be a bit daunting, Google has also rolled out the ability to filter results based on licensing information. If you only want to use images under Creative Commons, then simply select the CC option under Usage Rights in the dropdown menu on Google Images. You can also use the “Commercial and other licenses” filter if you’re willing to purchase an image.


Google teamed up with image creators and stock photo providers to design and roll out these new licensing features. Ken Mainardis, SVP for Getty Images & iStock by Getty Images, said in a statement:

“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.”

The tech giant has been working on making image results richer and more informative recently. Over the past few months, it started marking images with icons that can indicate whether they link to pages with products for sale, to pages with recipes or to video content. Google also rolled out a deeper integration of its Knowledge Graph with image results back in July.