I was really quite excited to see that a new resource has been made available for us to search for CC licensed images. CC Search was launched a couple of days ago. The engine that they've created is a meta search engine, pulling results from the databases found at Flickr, 500px, Rijksmuseum, the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That's a total of about 9.5 million images that we can use. Filters allow searchers to limit results to images that can be used commercially, Modify, adapt, or build upon or both. You can limit your search to title, creator or tags, and you can also limit to specific collections as previously listed. If I create an account and sign into it I can save to a list or favourite it. I can also create my own tags and add those to existing images. All sounds wonderful so far, so what's with the 'appalling' reference?
Quite simply - and I know it's only in beta - it's a laughable search engine. A search for fox red labradors gives me lots of images of foxes, and little else, unless I start to scroll through. So the engine defaults to an OR search, and it's taking that quite literally. I can't run a phrase search, so "fox red labradors" gives me the same results. All I can do is search on single words to have any chance to get even vaguely what I'm after. This is no search engine at all! I would expect that even if something IS in beta, that the basics would have been taken care of, but obviously not. Now, yes, I expect issues and problems and things not quite being sorted out, but this is fundamental to searching! In its current form it's almost completely unusable. I can't even search for images that I've given CC licensing on because even though I limit my search to creator, it's looking for phil OR bradley, not both.
Quite extraordinary. All that I can say is that I hope they'll release a rather more effective version in the near future, and if they do, I'll be sure to let you know. I really hope that they do, since it's going to be fantastic to use when it works. But it's currently a case of 'when' rather than 'works'.