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Mountain View has added a filter to its Google Images to allow users to sift through photos to determine the usage rights of the image.

New options are now available via Google's image search tool that include a selection of licensing methods, such as Creative Commons and GNU Free Documentation, for the reuse of photographs.

There is one snag, however. Google has warned that the new feature only identifies images that have been "tagged" with licences that apparently authorise reuse. But that isn't necessarily a guarantee.

"You'll still have to verify that the licensing information is accurate," wrote Google software engineers Lance Huang and George Ruban in a joint blog post.

"We can help you take the first step towards finding these images, but we can't guarantee that the content we linked to is actually in the public domain, or available under the licence."

So how does Google determine an image searched for online can be reused under one of the licensing methods mentioned above? Why, by reading the photo's metadata, of course.

Anyone interested in using the tool on Google Images can access it via the advanced settings option of the search tool.

Then again, you might find it easier and more reliable to go elsewhere with your search for an image that can be reused. After all, one might think Google is just paying lip service to content creators with what is a less-than perfect image filtering system. ®

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