Thursday, January 4, 2007
Google and Creative Commons
I want to brainstorm a simple question: where is Creative Commons missing in Google?
As you probably know, the Creative Commons license
gives those who want to create content (like bloggers – I’m “giving away” posts) the chance to enable sharing for their content, and yet keep some rights to it; so on this side, Google apps can offer the option to publish with a Creative Commons license
. For those looking for content, on the other hand (e.g. bloggers, again – I’m always on the look-out for photos to use in articles), Google apps can offer the option to search for Creative Commons-licensed content
Here are examples of where Google is already using (or acknowledging) the Creative Commons – please add your examples as well if you know any:
Here are examples of where Google might be using Creative Commons in the future (but isn’t yet doing so):
- Google image search does not allow you to search for specific usage rights. Neither does Google Blog search.
- Google Video search does not allow you to find Creative Commons content (the best you can do is select the video price to be “free”).
- Google Book Search allows you to search “full view books” only. This covers material that’s in the public domain, among other types of books. There is however no specific Creative Commons license, nor does Google always seem to understand such a license when it’s attached to the book (my own CC-licensed book made a good test case, as it’s not available in full view on Google Books).
- The Google News advanced search page doesn’t have a usage rights option (even though some of the Google News sources are Creative Commons licensed, e.g. Brain Blogger).
- Google has lots of oneboxes, handing out instant maps, answers, news bits. However, they don’t suggest Creative Commons (or GNU/GPL/BSD/public domain licensed) content when you search for, say, free pictures of dogs. In similar vein, a suggestion like “Are you looking for images to share only?” blurb might make sense for certain Google Image search queries.
- The Google Toolbar could have an icon that changes its appearance when you’re on a Creative Commons enabled page (these pages usually carry CC-license metadata to identify themselves to bots).
- The Google 3D Warehouse for SketchUp-created models doesn’t have an advanced search page, and models do not show licensing terms (the site is generally intended to share, though).
- The Google SOAP API is unsupported nowadays anyway, so it’s too late to ponder API support for the “usage rights” option of Google web search.
- When you upload a video to Google Video, you can only select it to be public or unlisted. Other than that, you’ll agree that you don’t upload “copyrighted or obscene material.” There’s no Creative Commons option.
- When you edit Picasa Web Album properties, or upload photos, you can’t choose from a Creative Commons license.
- You can publish documents using Google Docs & Spreadsheets, but there is no Creative Commons checkbox.
- Google Page Creator allows you to create web pages, but there’s apparently no support for adding CC-licensing.
- Google Reader doesn’t seem to make anything special out of Creative Commons licensed blog posts; though there is a “share” button below each post, there’s no indicator of the post’s sharing license.
In some of these instances, a Creative Commons option might only clutter up the interface. However, in most cases, the option would perfectly fit an advanced search page (which casual users won’t visit in the first place) or a settings page. And in some cases, like Picasa Web Albums, or Google Image search, or Google Video, we have reason to believe a very visible option might be of interest to everyone, even casual users. The phrasing doesn’t always have to mention Creative Commons either, as it’s a fairly theoretical concept; instead, e.g. in an image upload dialog, the question might just be “do you want others to be able to share your image?” along with an “advanced” link for the full, CC-based options.
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