Not unlike the scared question of how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, I just counted six clicks needed to do a Google Image search for content that is licensed for reuse.


Here we go.

(1) Go to Google image search. It has that new sparse google look, lots of white space. Gone is the “advanced search” link.

Let’s try to find images of white horses we can use in our own content.

(2) We get results- note that among the filter options on the left, there is a lack of any options for licenses.

(3) With some scrolling to the bottom, I spot the link to the “Switch t Basic Version” (like who knows what that means?)

(4) Now I get a search result page with advanced search link on it. I am closer. but am already deep in the click count.

(5) At the very bottom of the options, finally! finally! I have an option to restrict to content licensed for re-use.

(6) And finally, I get a search result that has content licensed for re-use– now note on the left side, that the license options appear here at the end game:

Is it me, or is this just plain ridiculous? Who would go to so much trouble?

Google, you can do better, you really can.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Ah, yet another knot in Google’s noose – the one they are using to hang themselves. For years I used gmail, until their recent changes. I’ve now switched to Apple’s Mail app, before they force the switch to the new interface upon me. It seems like everything they’re doing now is designed to hide, blind or otherwise obfuscate good content.

  2. Probably doesn’t lessen the total clicks but maybe a bit more straightforward: once you’re on the google search page you can also hit the gear button at the upper right of everything; underneath that is “advanced search” – seems a bit quicker than going first to the basic version.

      1. … or you could just by-pass all those Google hoops by using CC Search in Firefox instead. For other browsers there’s always

        Having said that, I noticed the other day, that the CC site is en route to being “improved” towards uselessness, too.

        If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway!

  3. As a post-secondary instructor who teaches a digital writing class, I was surprised at this change, which seemed to happen either over summer or early in fall. I am used to telling my students to use the Advanced Search feature to find images labelled for reuse, and yet when I told them to do so at the beginning of the Fall term, they objected since they couldn’t find the Advanced Search feature.

    You can also sometimes get the advanced search to appear by clicking the search button with no search terms entered (though oddly, sometimes this does not work) and you can get there by adding “advanced image search” to the end of the image search page.

    I agree this is annoying, and further, it makes it very difficult to get students to comply with copyright and image use law in their assignments. Disappointing move, Google.

  4. I’m rather frustrated with various other Google “improvements” these days. First, they dumped all of the Google Reader items that I had shared. Then then came out with that stupid drop-down menu to access your other Google tools (Docs, Reader, etc.), but Reader is way down the list, while things I don’t or rarely use are at the top / on the first bar, and Sites isn’t listed at all. Makes me wonder if those who at one time advised about usability at Google have all left.

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