Dec 252012

Google has finally kept up to their promise of images available to Google Drive users. They have added a free stock photo library to the documents portion of Google Drive when you create a new document. There are over 5,000 new images from Thinkstock in the stock photo library and you can search by subject to find the free images that you need, without exiting Google Drive.

How to access the free stock photo library on Google Drive

The 5,000 image library is easy to access once you understand how. These free stock photos can only be accessed when you start a new document or edit a document. The library cannot be accessed through the left hand margin before ‘creating’.

Open your Google Drive and in the left hand top corner you will see a button Create. Open create and pick the document you want to make.

Once you have opened your document, go to the tab insert and then image on the pull down menu. A pop up window will appear.

To access the Google free stock photo library, go to the menu item search in the left hand margin. You will be awarded three options, Google, Life and Stock Photos. The free stock photos are located under Stock Photos.

Use the search box t look through all 5,000 free photos that you can use in any of your documents.

Contributors to free stock photos on Google Drive

The free stock photos found on Google Drive are a crowd sourcing initiative instigated by Google. Over 6 months ago, Google posted on their blog that they wanted Google Drive users to send in their favorite photos from Thinkstock. The Google community of users saw photo contributions as an opportunity and donated their own photos to the free stock photo option. The result is over 5,000 free photos on Google Drive for you use. How magical is that. IN a review of the quality of the free stock photos found on Google Drive, it seems the selection process from contributing photographers must have been rigorous, as the photos are great!

This is how our free stock images looks in the Google Drive presentation:

Who benefits from the free stock photos on Google Drive

Users of Google Drive and the numerous advantages of this desktop resource that can be accessed on the go, benefit from this library of over 5,000 free stock photos. As noted above, this library can only be accessed when you create or edit a Google Drive document in Google Drive. Don’t have access to Google Drive yet? It is easy. All you need is a Gmail address to access Google Drive. Once you register your Gmail address through their sign up process, you can access Google Drive through the Google menu bar. as a cloud storage system you have additional benefits that other cloud storage systems do not have. You can create documents, share documents with others through Google Docs. You receive 5 GB of free storage but can access additional storage for as little as $2.50 usd per month. For the Google Drive user, you can now access over 5,000 stock photos through Google Docs without having to pay for storage.

You want to know where Google got the stock images from? Thinkstock, the subscription based stock agency of Getty Images, has provided all stock images for Google Drive. Compare Thinkstock to Shutterstock and other subscription based stock agencies here.

  • Ileane

    That’s fantastic news. I’m using Google Drive just about everyday to store files, and maybe once or twice a week to create documents. I can’t wait to dive into the image library.

    Thanks Justin and Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

    • Justin Germino

      Merry Christmas to you too Ileane, it was about time Google got into the photostock market.

      • AStockPhotographer

        If Google were truly in the stock market they would be licensing the usage in a true stock photo model where users pay for each image. Instead they paid a one-time below market fee to our distributor then opted to give away our IP for free after stripping away all our copyright and authorship information. You all may think this is wonderful but the artists that were stabbed in the back feel violated and cheated. Enjoy!

        • Justin Germino

          Correct me if I am wrong, Google made a deal with iStockPhoto right? So iStockPhoto is the one who gave up the images and sold out their user bases photo’s to Google, this isn’t just a Google issue, it is iStockPhoto that didn’t give option to it’s users and an opt in right?

  • Larry James

    Will we be able to use these photos on our blogs? Or can we just use them for creating printable documents? I have not use Google Drive yet, so I don’t know if we can download these to our hard drive or if we can only insert them into our documents.

    • Justin Germino

      You can use them for either, many bloggers are starting to use them as royalty free stock images for posts.

  • thewolfkin

    this actually sounds pretty dope

  • Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    This is great. Thanks so much for letting us know about these images. I’m always on the hunt for images and this is a fantastic resource.

    • Justin Germino

      You are most welcome, Google Drive and all its functions (docs, spreadsheets, presentation all absorbed into Google Drive now) is a pretty impressive suite overall.

  • guntars

    Those are great images there that took time, money and insane amount of skill to produce. Please do not use them, the photographers who created them were ripped of in this “deal” between getty and google. Please for more info check the original announcment on google drive blog.
    Thank you

    • Justin Germino

      Can you show this to be true, from what I understand Google has a deal with thinkstock, I am pretty sure there must be some compensation, they post this publicly.

      If you’re interested in helping us out, go to and search for images, or browse through them by category. Using the Google form linked below, submit the item numbers (linked underneath each image) for up to 10 images you’d like to nominate for use in your documents, presentations, spreadsheets. We’ll use your ideas to create and curate the next generation of our stock image library.

      What link or information would suggest Google is just taking stock images without compensating anyone?

      • Joh

        Read the comments, most of them are from angry artists, who found about about this only a couple of days ago:

        • Justin Germino

          The problem is most of the complaints are from anonymous, so can’t be validated as anything more than the same potential person issuing the same statement over and over. But I do believe that the artists probably were not compensated.

          You can always use Yahoo Images search of the Flickr creative commons images for free images if you don’t want to support Google for doing this.

        • guntars

          read this please, it’s a really long thread, but it may give you some insight on this mater. I am not competent to enough to speak of the legal aspects of this ” deal”, but it is not really fair. As far as I know the artists recieved 12$ for a print sized digital image that will be freely distributed on the internet, thus rendering any future sales of the image nearly imposible.

          Thank you for your time

  • Justin Germino

    Thank you for educating myself and readers on the details of the deal. In my opinion it would appear iStockPhoto which is the place the users had contract with did not properly compensate or inform the users their photo’s were being added to Google. This is not unlike the Instagram debacle where they were going to sell the public’s images to advertisers without public knowing.

    From the perspective of the blogger, user of Google Drive most probably have no clue that the couple of hundreds users who had their images used without permission.

    • Joh

      Here’s a good summary of what happened, written by a fellow photographer:

  • Tom@San Diego Colleges

    Oh wow, about time they follow up on their promises! With that said, I’m pretty impressed with the photos they uploaded. Great quality and not clip art. lol.