WordPress.org will soon to be the home of Creative Commons Search. With 500 million free-to-use photos, it will help the search engine maintain its place in the Internet.
According to Matt Mullenweg, CEO of WordPress parent company Automattic, he chose to get CC Search on board after learning that it was in danger of being shut down. He claims to be a long-time supporter of Creative Commons and their significant work on open content licenses.
“When we heard they were considering shutting down their CC Search engine we immediately started exploring ways we could keep it going.”
With its relaunching on WordPress.org, CC Search will have a new home and will be able to save money on overhead costs because WordPress will cover the expenses of hosting its 500 million image database.
“CC Search, a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) image search engine, is joining the WordPress project with over 500 million openly licensed and public domain images discoverable from over 50 sources.”
Mullenweg said that he is excited to give their open search product a new home on WordPress.org as part of their ongoing dedication to support freely distributable content and provide this shared resource for decades to come.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides ad-free search results. Ever since it was launched, donations kept CC Search up and running.
With the hosting expense eliminated, CC Search would be less reliant on user donations to move forward. Furthermore, Automattic is now recruiting key members for the CC Search team and funding their work.
“Automattic has hired key members of the CC Search team and will sponsor their contributions as part of our Five for the Future commitment,” Matt further detailed on his personal blog.
Creative Commons relies on a team of volunteer developers to keep the open-source projects running. It is likely that some of the volunteers will be paid for the first time for their efforts. Though it is still uncertain whether or not Automattic is recruiting CC volunteers or engineering team members.
In either case, this is a significant victory for Creative Commons, which has been assisting publishers in finding freely licensed images since 2001.
“This is an important first step to provide a long-term, sustainable challenger to proprietary libraries like Unsplash.”
Mullenweg mentions that CC Search will soon include audio and video content. That is most definitely not feasible without WordPress’s assistance.
The addition of CC Search team members opens the door for the company to extend its capabilities with additional functionality in the future.
Mullenweg says he will share more information about future plans in a few weeks, once everything from CC Search is live and running on WordPress.
“I look forward to seeing the project grow and welcome them to the WordPress community! Will share in a few weeks when everything is live and running on the site.”
Aside from the advantage of continuing to have access to CC Search, it is still unknown what the move would mean for WordPress site owners at this time.
However, the ability to scan for and add photos to posts without leaving the WordPress editor is the feature that everyone has been hoping for.
Creative Commons currently provides an official WordPress plugin that allows site owners to easily add free use licenses to their own content. It is likely that this feature will be available natively in future versions of WordPress.
While Creative Commons has yet to issue an official statement, former CEO Ryan Merkley expressed his thoughts on Twitter. He revealed that when he founded CC Search, he always hoped that it would become a part of the Internet’s infrastructure.
“Matt Mullenweg and I first talked about CC Search in 2018, and he immediately saw the potential. I’m so happy to see this happen. It’s great for WordPress, and great for the Commons.”