Can You Use Google Images for a YouTube Thumbnail?

When it comes to creating a thumbnail for your YouTube video, you have many different options. You can use stock photos, create your own graphics, or use images from other websites. But can you use Google Images?

Yes, you can use Google Images as a thumbnail for your YouTube video however the image must be “labeled for reuse” to ensure it is not copyright protected.

This blog post will explore the legality of using Google Images for your thumbnail and some best practices for getting the most out of your images. So, let’s get started. Shall we?

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Can I Use Google Images on YouTube?

You’ve created the perfect video, and you’re ready to share it with the world. But what thumbnail will you use?

You have a few options. You can use some of the pictures already in your video, create a custom thumbnail, or use that stunning picture you stumbled upon on Google Images.

But can you use Google Images for your thumbnail without getting into trouble?

The answer is yes… and no.

Yes, you can use Google Images for your thumbnail as long as you’re not infringing on any copyrights. As long as you’re using an image in the public domain or that you have permission to use, you should be good to go.

But just because you can use a Google Image doesn’t mean you always should.

If the image isn’t in the public domain, using it is copyright infringement. While that might not be a big deal for your blog post, where you’re only getting a handful of views per month, YouTube videos can reach tens of thousands or even millions of views, and that’s when people start taking notice.

Therefore, to stay on the side of caution and avoid any potential legal trouble, it’s always best to use images that you either own the copyright to or have permission to use. Source: Google Support

» MORE: Can You Use Logos in Your YouTube Thumbnails?

Best Practices to Use Google Images for a YouTube Thumbnail

Let’s face it, finding the perfect image to use as a thumbnail for your YouTube video can be tricky. You want the image to be eye-catching and represent the content of your video accurately, but you also don’t want to run into any copyright.

That’s where Google Images comes in. With its massive library of images, you’re sure to find an image that’s perfect for your thumbnail. However, while it may seem like you stumbled on a gold mine, not all Google Images are fair game for your YouTube thumbnail.

You can only use Google Images if the image is public domain or you have permission from the owner to use it (such as Creative Commons images). Luckily, you can follow some basic practices to use Google Images for your YouTube thumbnail. We’ll take a look at them below.

The first thing you need to do before using any image from Google Images is to determine its copyright status. Just because an image pops up in a search doesn’t mean it’s free for use. In fact, many pictures on the internet are protected by copyright law and can’t be used without permission from the owner.

Therefore, while it may seem like a lot of hassle, it’s always best to take the time to determine an image’s copyright status before using it. This will go a long way in helping you avoid copyright infringement.

It’s also less risky to link to the image rather than download and upload it or copy and paste it onto your platform. It’s also best to set out a URL rather than embed the image.

Also, linking to an image is beneficial because if its permissions change in the future, you won’t have any worries about infringing on someone’s copyrights or having your video account suspended.

Use Your Own Images and Photos

If you want to use a photo or image for your thumbnail, it’s always best to use an image you’ve taken yourself or that you have the right to. This will help avoid any copyright infringement issues and possible account suspensions down the road.

However, take note of the following:

  • You must obtain a model release form if you plan to use any images of people in your thumbnail.
  • You must obtain the right to use any trademarks or logos included in your image.
  • If you’ve licensed your images to someone else, you have limited rights to use those images.
  • If you’re employed and took the photos as part of your job, you don’t own the right to use those images unless otherwise agreed upon.

In the end, it’s always best to be safe and play by the rules when it comes to using copyrighted images. By doing so, you’ll avoid any legal trouble and keep your channel running smoothly.

Use Creative Commons Licensed Google Images

Another way to get away with using Google Images for your thumbnail is to use Creative Commons (CC) licensed images. This means that the image has been released into the public domain, which gives you free rein to use it however you please.

To find a Creative Commons licensed image, simply do a Google search for “Creative Commons,” followed by the type of image you’re looking for. However, remember that CC-licensed photos are just that—licensed. That means you still have to read the terms and conditions to see what it allows or not.

Buy Images from Stock Photo Agencies

On your Google Images search results page, you can also find images that are available to buy. These stock photo agency websites sell photos and other copyrighted materials for a fee.

You don’t have to worry about copyright infringement when you use these pictures, as they’ve already paid for by the time they reach your computer screen.

Use YouTube Thumbnail Templates

Many big YouTube channels are turning to pre-made YouTube thumbnails templates. These templates offer pre-made layouts, tons of fonts to choose from, and most importantly copyright-free images built right in!

Try out a site like to try out these YouTube thumbnail templates for yourself.

» MORE: How To Make a Custom YouTube Thumbnail [YouTube Tutorial]

Wrapping Up

As tempting as it might be to use an image you found on Google Images, remember that there are consequences for doing so.

It’s always best to play it safe and take your own photos or buy them from a stock photo agency. And don’t forget the other tips we’ve shared. With this information, you’ll know for sure that you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright.