This search filter isn’t only of interest to those looking for content to republish or mash. It could serve as incentive for publishers of web content to allow re-use of their content, because then, it would push them higher in the rankings when people are searching with these advanced filters.
How does the search work, then? I think at the moment Google does little more than analyze which Creative Commons licenses are linked from specific web pages. For example, when I search for sites allowing some for of re-use, I end up on a page that has the Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial license. Searching for content which can be freely modified, adapted or build upon returned a page licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (by Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig no less – I searched for [google], and received this).
Searching for [site:wikipedia.org] returns no results, even though Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Google seems to be missing out on millions of pages which do offer re-use.
Note sites found with the any re-use filter are already included as sub-set in the some re-use filter, so if you want to search for any kind of CC-license, you don’t have to search twice.
How many pages does this new search type dig through? It’s hard to tell, as searching for [* *] doesn’t return any results as it does in web search. However, search for [the] and you get around 10 million results for the some re-use filter (and roughly half that for the any use filter).
Is this filter a new thing on the search scene? The answer is, well, no. Yahoo already has a special Creative Commons search since March 23 this year. It’s quite possible the Googleplex engineers were “inspired” by this. (The Creative Commons homepage has a search as well.)
[Thanks to Eric Lebeau of French Zorgloob for spotting this.]
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