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Google Image Search Basics

Anyone who creates a slideshow for a class presentation, whether a teacher or student, has probably searched and included images that aren’t ones that they created.  After all, if it’s out there on the internet, it’s free to use, right?


Just because an image is published on a web site, just as in print media.  How, then, do you find images for your presentations, if you don’t want to create them yourself?

Luckily, as always, Google has the answer.  Built into the Google image search is a tool to allow for searching by usage rights.

Here’s a screenshot of a standard Google image search for pictures of tigers.  Aren’t they lovely?  Any of these would look fabulous in a slideshow, however, not all of them are yours for the taking.

To find images that you can take freely, you need to search by usage rights.  To do that, click on the tools button.  When you do that, another toolbar appears:

Once you see that other toolbar, open up the Usage rights menu (by selecting the down arrow as indicated).  When you do that, the usage rights menu appears.

Google offers several options for usage rights…

  1. Not filtered by licence
    • This would show all images, and is the default search.
  2. Labeled for reuse with modification
    • This option shows all images that you may take and reuse
    • You may modify these images freely (alter colours, add parts, etc)
    • You may use these in business materials.
  3. Labeled for reuse
    • These are images you may use for business materials, but you must not modify them at all
  4. Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification
    • Similar to number 2 above, but you may not resell any materials that contain these images
    • These would be fine for academic use in a classroom for example
  5. Labeled for noncommercial reuse
    • Similar to number 3 above, you cannot alter the images at all
    • You cannot sell materials that you use these in

Choose option 2 – Labeled for reuse with modification for any images that you may use in your materials.

Please note…just because the images are yours to use, does not mean they are free of copyright.  As well you still must reference your images appropriately in your work.


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