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Microsoft axes Clip Art image library for Bing Image Search

by Mark Tyson on 2 December 2014, 12:05

Tags: Office 2010, Office 2007

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Microsoft's Office team has announced that it is axing the Office.com Clip Art online image library. Users will begin to be directed to a new image source; Bing Image Search. "The Office.com Clip Art and image library has closed shop," the Microsoft's Office blog said. "Usage of Office's image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines."

Ye olde clip art gallery

Even though Microsoft's Clip Art has been a staple of using Office products for many years, the reasoning behind the change is pretty obvious. In comparison, Bing Image Search is clearly more up to date, especially with technology images, and can offer high quality imagery perhaps more appropriate than Clip Art's old illustrations. It is thought that most people would prefer to just run a quick image search online anyway, so there's no reason why Microsoft shouldn't simply give users what they want from the interface.

Searching for pictures to use in any of the Office desktop products released in the past decade will show you results from Bing images. There users can continue to browse the images and download the ones they fancy just like in olden times. "For example, searching for "cellphone" gives more variety and modern looking phones instead of the old-school bricks from Clip Art," the blog said. Bing Image Search, as built into Office, uses a copyright Creative Commons filter that's switched on by default to allow for commercial use.

The Bing Image Search library is brimming with 'modern' smartphones

In addition, Microsoft has added a drop-down menu option to Office to make the image searching process more straight forward. The new image search function will be available in current builds of Office 365, Word 2013, Outlook 2013 and PowerPoint 2013, in addition to Office 2010 and Office 2007.

Will anyone miss the Clip Art of old? In some ways this seems like a much cheaper option than commissioning a range of modern illustrations to bring clip art up to date.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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What about copyrights to the random images the search engine will spit out? Or is it filtering only ones that do not have copyrights on them?
Bing Image search has had a “license” filter for ages now.

Bing's Video and Image search is much, much better than Google's I find. However their main web search doesn't cut the mustard.
What about copyrights to the random images the search engine will spit out? Or is it filtering only ones that do not have copyrights on them?
Not quite either, as I understand it.

Office's Bing Image Search has a Creative Commons licence attached by default. You can turn it off, but if you do, check copyright on images you use.

The Creative Commons licence DOES NOT mean inages are copyright-free. To the contrary, they specifically are protected, BUT … the Creative Commons licence gives fairly broad permission to use images, WITHIN the limits of that licence. For details, check out the Creative Commons scheme.

Ultimately, of course, it's the user's legal duty to ensure you comply with copyright, and the user that's liable if you don't. In practical terms, home users aren't likely to get more than a “don't do it again” cease and desist notice, and rarely even that. If, however, you trample on some big corporate's copyright and try to exploit it for commercial gain, expect to get heavily stomped on. Don't try to commercially rip off Coca Cola, or Rolls Royce, or Harrods, or Rolex, or … well, you get the idea. They have been known to have a complete sense of humour failure over such attempts in the past, and can afford bigger, better and nastier lawyers than most of us can.
Aw, I'm slightly sad to see it go. Brings back fond memories.
-Microsoft clips Clip Art image library.