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Free image sites

After the last article about Google updating their advanced search to include Creative Commons licensed images, it created some interest and thanks to both Ory and Chris for the links to other sites that allow you to use images for free.

The first one was Picapp which is in beta at the moment, although these days does that really mean anything?

My initial thoughts on Picapp were mixed as it doesn’t really give much information unless you dig around a bit.

What is PicApp?

Basically it is a searchable database of images from the likes of Getty Images and Corbis, which can then be embedded onto your site. It is easy to use, you simply search, choose the image size you want and grab the code.

All sounds good and using the demo on the site it seems to be doing what it says.

The downside is that is places an advertisement over the image and some sponsored links. This isn’t that clear even when using the demo. The only thing I saw when using the demo was a gallery button that sits on the image and either allows you to view other images of the same topic or links to the Picapp website. So have a good test of this before setting this live on your blog.

Picapp does have a WordPress plugin that integrates into your admin to allow you to add in pictures within WordPress. Check out the WordPress demo video. If you choose to use this service the plugin will be very useful but for me I won’t be using it in the near future, I think I prefer to use Google as per my last post.

The second link i was sent was a link to Zemanta which in my opinion seems to be more user friendly and gives you more options for images.

What is Zemanta?

Zemanta is a revolutionary new platform for accelerating on-line content production. Zemanta views your content and then delivers relevant images, smart links, keywords and text, instantly.

It has a nifty FireFox plugin that generates content recommendations as you write. It automatically works with GMail, Yahoo!Mail, WordPress, Blogger, Movable Type, TypePad and others while you are writing. You can also download plugins for most popular blogging platforms like WordPress.

I tried out the demo on the website and it was very easy to use and very quick. The images that are delivered come from various sources such as Flickr, Wikipedia, Getty and other great sources. You get a wide range of images and all the content is blogger-friendly as it is clearly marked with licensing information.

As the content is from a few different providers it gives you a little more choice and this is one thing that i feel is better than Picapp.

Again though, it does link the image to the original website but I feel this is slightly less intrusive as there is just a simple caption of text below the image stating where the image came from and I feel this is acceptable. What do you think?

With so many bloggers writing everyday there is a need for images to help deliver the writer’s message. With more of these sites and tools getting relevant content will become easier but for now i think we will have to continue digging around the internet looking for the content using sites such as Google.

If you know of any other sites or tools that allow you to use images for free let us know in the forums or leave a comment below. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts if these sites are useful or if we should just carry on using Google or Flickr as before.