by Jim Pickerell

Microsoft’s Bing has created the Bing Image Widget making It possible for any Bing user to embed, free of charge, on their website or blog any images found in a Bing Images search.

Here’s how it works. If you are writing about volcanos you copy and paste this code into your web page where you want pictures of volcanoes to appear and you get the spread of pictures below.

    <div class=”bingwidget” data-type=”images” data-query=”Volcanos” data-layout=”collage” data-height=”281px” data-width=”500px” data-color=”match” data-safesearch=”moderate” data-version=”0.9″ data-style=”border:none;”></div>

Now suppose you are writing about Miley Cyrus, or New York or Tigers. Simply replace the “Volcanos” in quotes and with the word or words you want like “Miley Cyrus” and you get a display of those pictures.

If you want to change the size of the image being displayed on the page you simply change the data-height and width-with like this for New York. Also note that you can mouse over any of the images shown and see the web site they came from. Click on the link and you will be taken to that web site. Of course, in most cases that web site was not the originator of the image. They got it from somewhere else and it is usually impossible to find the image creators name.

Or you can get a slideshow by changing the data-layout=”collage” to “slideshow”. This time I’ll search for “tigers”. The default for the slideshow is to show 10 images. Over time these images will change as the Bing search finds new images it wants to show at the top of the search return.

It is also possible to just show a single image by adding data count =”1″ after the data-layout=”slideshow”. This time I’ll pick Tom Hanks. It would be nice if you could do this in the “collage” view, but that doesn’t seem to work. The other thing that seems to impossible (at least at this stage) is to pick the particular image you want to embed. The blogger, or whoever might uses this service gets the first one, or ones that come up in the Bing search and must live with that result even if they find something much further down the line in the search return order that they would prefer to use.

It also seems that this page loads much slower than the other pages on my site. Maybe this is because I have used so many links and it might not be so bad if I only used one or two.

Does Anyone Need To Pay For Images Anymore?

Anyone who uses this service needs to read the Bing Image Widget Terms of Service. This document including the links to the applicable Microsoft Service Agreement and the Bing Image Widget Documentation runs a total of 33 pages and 23,558 words. I have not read the full document and in any event I would probably need a lawyer to interpret it for me.

Under Restrictions On Use the document does say, “(i) use the Services to infringe upon the copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights of anyone;”  I have no idea how I tell who the copyright holder is of any given image and I suspect that Microsoft has no idea either.

The courts have decided that displaying the search results (including images) for the education and benefit of the public is fair use. Now it seems that these displays can be made available to any end user for re-publication and re-distribution for non-commercial or commercial purposes.


As of september 4, Getty Images is suing Microsoft for copyright infringement, declaring ” In effect, defendant [Microsoft] has turned the entirety of the world’s online images into little more than a vast, unlicensed ‘clip art’ collection for the benefit of those website publishers who implement the Bing Image Widget, all without seeking permission from the owners of copyrights in those images,” more on this here

Author: pmelcher


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