The landscape has changed quite a bit since 2012, and there are a number of
players that could offer a service like this by now. It may be worthwhile
exploring them briefly (including but not limited to Google), if we believe
this is important enough to invest time in (and I agree that there is a
number of use cases from the community point of view at least).


On Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 8:24 AM James Forrester <>

> On Mon, 17 Jun 2019 at 06:28, Yann Forget <> wrote:
> > It has been suggested many times to ask Google for an access to their API
> > for searching images,
> > so that we could have a bot tagging copyright violations (no free access
> > for automated search).
> > That would the single best improvement in Wikimedia Commons workflow for
> > years.
> > And it would benefit all Wikipedia projects, big or small.
> >
> Yann,
> As you should remember, we asked Google for API access to their reverse
> image search system, years ago (maybe 2013?). They said that there isn't
> such an API any more (they killed it off in ~2012, I think), and that they
> wouldn't make a custom one for us. The only commercial alternative we found
> at the time would have cost us approximately US$3m a month at upload
> frequency for Commons then, and when contacted said they wouldn't do any
> discounts for Wikimedia. Obviously, this is far too much for the
> Foundation's budget (it would be even more now), and an inappropriate way
> to spend donor funds. Providing the service in-house would involve building
> a search index of the entire Internet's (generally non-free) images and
> media, which would cost a fortune and is totally incompatible with the
> mission of the movement. This was relayed out to Commons volunteers at the
> time, I'm pretty sure.
> Obviously Google might have changed their mind, though it seems unlikely. I
> imagine that Google engineers and product owners don't follow this list, so
> it's unlikely that they will re-create the API without being asked
> directly.
> J.
> --
> *James D. Forrester* (he/him <> or they/themself
> <>)
> Wikimedia Foundation <>
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