Microsoft’s gallery had an aesthetic, to be sure, and it wasn’t high art. But these images, cheesy as they are, were also incredibly useful in their time. It wasn’t easy to quickly find images in the dial-up age, and an entire industry of CD-ROMs you could buy for $50+ tried to fill that niche. You could buy those, or you could stick with what you already had: Microsoft’s clip art.
Is there a potential downside? Yes. Just because a search engine sees something as Creative Commons doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Here at MakeUseOf, for example, we’ve had at least one photographer threaten to sue us over an image he didn’t realize he himself licensed as Creative Content. He backed down when we pointed this out, and it’s one example resulting from thousands of blog posts spread over a decade, but know that this isn’t without risk.
This applies more to teachers than to anyone else, but clip art (especially black line clip art) can´t be beat when it comes to using images that are going to be photocopied. It creates a much cleaner look than a photo. While there is much talk of going digital, the reality is that most of the world still is using paper for teaching . . . and a lot of it, not because we aren´t open to the digital world, but many times not all students have access.
I used clipart a LOT for newsetters and other documents. I don't always want a photo - clipart is often better at getting an idea across quickly, and I didn't need to worry about copyright because I assumed it was OK to use without permission as it was a part of the MS package. The BING option is terrible - very juvenile and hardly extensive with fewer than 50 options. And by-the-way, most of the online sites for "accessing clipart in MS Word 2010" still say to go to insert then click on clipart. Really - we hardly need such basic instructions when they aren't even correct anymore!