In a big win for helping photographers properly receive credit for their work on the internet, today Google announced that they’re adding support for image rights metadata. You’ll see this Google Images rights data in search results for photos.
At a technical level, they’re pulling IPTC metadata fields from images that have that data embed. Initially they’re adding the Creator and Credit metadata fields when they’re present. There’s an “Image credits” link that displays with the search results that allows anyone to view these bits of information. Google indicates they’ll be adding support for the Copyright Notice field soon.
On one hand, this is great as previously we didn’t have Google Images rights information that was easily visible, and the more that we can do to dispel the myth that Google Image Search is a great way to find free photos, the better. On the other hand, as you can see in Google’s screenshot animation of how this is going to work, while the information will exist, it’s going to be in a submenu that’s not visible at first glance:
While the initial visual presentation is not as obvious as it might be, if you want to ensure that the Google Images rights information includes your metadata, be sure to include IPTC rights management metadata as you prepare your images for the web. Tools such as Lightroom make it straightforward to add this data, either manually or with presets as part of your import or workflow. As photographers, we face a battle against the “everything on the internet is free for the taking” mindset that so many have, and it’s great to see Google making moves towards allowing photographers to better surface their copyright and rights management information through Google Image search.
Do your part by including copyright metadata, and let’s hope Google continues doing its part by making this information visible in search results.