Have you ever seen an incredible piece of art and spent hours wondering or arguing over the artist, country of origin, or just simply what this piece of art is called? Typically, this is an argument that revolves around heresy and assumptions and the argument ends with no one the winner. Uncertainty is the worst, and it is within that uncertainty that birthed the wondrous technology of reverse image search.
Since the dawn of Google image search, the world has wondered when it would be able to search the internet for a specific image, rather than keywords and terms. The importance in doing a reverse image search is to identify who or what is contained in that image. In 2015, the world saw a number of mobile apps, websites, and online firms that claim to have the best image recognition search. Although each image identifier ideally should get the job done, there are a few pitfalls when doing a reverse image lookup. Contained in this article you will find a vast number of resources to teach you how to search by image, how to do a reverse image search, and what, specifically, are the best tools for doing such.
A reverse image search allows a user to search the internet without the input of keywords, phrases, or any kind of key search terms. Reverse image search is the process by which a user can pulse a search query across the world wide web based on an uploaded image, or a link to that image online. By using an image search upload, you have the ability to find the original source of the image and relatable images. Unlike a typical Google search, Google reverse search and other reverse image lookup services are primed by their lack of specific search terms allowing a plethora of results.
When it comes to reverse image searching, there are a vast number of tools out there to complete the task. Major online search engines like Google offer the most common options for completing the task but there are a few new players to the game. Below we will try to outline some of the best.
Top 10 Online Reverse Image Search Engines
Google, the most visited website on the world wide web, offers an option to leverage the internet’s most powerful search engine and pulse the interwebs for an image upload search. Whether that image is hosted online and you wish to provide a URL, or you saved that image and want to upload and search, you may utilize Google Images to find similar images and original image information
If one was to search the web for “Reverse Image Search”, it is likely TinEye is the first result that shows up. TinEye comes from Idee inc. out of Toronto and is the most popular and world widely used image reverse search engine. TinEye’s claim to fame is that it was the first website to ever use the image identification technology. Their API is fast and scalable allowing for clients to search for one image all the way up to multi-billion images.
Image Raider is a constant updating service that allows clients to import their image catalog and receive updates when their images appear on any websites. Their search engine parses Google, Bing, and Yandex to create a large database of websites to ping. Image Raider comments that a large number of their users are smartphone users looking to leverage Google reverse image search on their mobile device, but Google has yet to implement a mobile reverse image search.
Yandex is Russia’s version of Google. Being the largest search engine of the country, it also has created a reverse image search tool that mimics Google’s quite well. Much like Google, Yandex allows the user to either upload their image or input the image’s URL, and filter search results by file type and image size.
Baidu is China’s biggest and largest search engine. Baidu and many Chinese search engines have been criticized for not producing the most accurate or holistically inclusive results to their search queries.
IQDB has developed a minimalist multi-service image search software that allows a user to parse non-traditional websites like Danbooru, The Anime Gallery, Manga Drawing, and Yande.re. This search engine only accepts JPEG, PNG, or GIF searches with a maximum file size of 8MB. The IQDB team has also developed a 3D image search engine.
Reddit, the dark web’s home base, hosts a load of content and images. It’s virtually impossible to browse all the subreddit boards for images and ensure you’re not reposting an already uploaded image. It’s not secret that Redditors hate re-posts. Karma Decay allows a user to search Reddit (and even limit the search to popular subreddits) to ensure non-duplication.
ImageWiki is the claimed to be the world’s photo identification database. ImageWiki is a free, community project dedicated to cataloging and attributing ownership/copyright information to image creators and owners. Content creators, photographers, and anyone else may submit their files with their information to be reverse-searchable while others in the community collaborate to identify any unknown works.
ImageBrief is a premium reverse image search engine that allows its users to search by keyword, photographer, and by image. While this service is mainly to connect web users who buy images and the creative individuals that make them, it can also be a handy tool to searching for metadata and photographer information on the images you are currently using.
Now that we have a decent list of options to use reverse image search on our desktop, it’s important to note that a handful of these aren’t available on mobile devices. Through extensive research on both reverse image search Android and reverse image search iPhone, we have been able to layout some of the best reverse image search mobile applications.
Top Reverse Image Search Mobile Apps
Since Google doesn’t allow for you to access their reverse image search service via mobile device, a plethora of applications have been developed to fulfill the need. Reversee, the number 1 results when searching the Apple app store for “Reverse Image Search” brings together the combined power of Google, Bing, and Yandex to search a vast variety of websites out there. Reversee allows its users to crop images as well as search directly from their web browser for image information.
Google Goggles (Android)
Google Goggles, not to be confused with Google Glass, is an Android application that allows its users to take images from their phone and search Google for similar images, copyright and author information, and content distribution. The competitive advantage to this mobile app over others is that it offers a Google quality user interface and high quality results. The incredibly wise Google algorithm produces the best results complete with remarkable information about the image.
Veracity for iOS discovers the truth behind the pixels. With Veracity, you can conduct a reverse image search on any image and find a multitude of information including; what the subject of the photo is, discover where else on the web the same photo exists (even if it was cropped or edited), and root out profiles on social media that use fake photos.
PicFinder will search by image on popular image search engines available on the web. Some of the outstanding features to PicFinder include cropping your image to attain the best results possible, getting higher resolution images or finding the original source, and finding visually similar images while allowing the user to open the result in Safari, add it to their reading list, and even copy the results to their clipboard.
Search By Image (Android)
Search By Image from BJB Inc search the web for content related to a specific image. The app allows Android users to find similar images or exact matches in different resolutions and sizes. The app utilizes Google’s reverse image search functionality. With 4,642 downloads according to Appcrawlr at the time of writing this article, Search By Image is the most downloaded reverse image search app in the Android marketplace
In addition to mobile applications and web based software applications, there are a handful of browser add-ons that will assist in the reverse image search procedure. Here are a list of the top browser add-ons to do reverse image search.
Top Reverse Image Search Browser Add-Ons
Search by Image for Google (Chrome)
This is quite possibly the simplest tool on the market for completing a reverse image search. Once you’ve installed the add-on, all you have to do is right click on the image. After the click, the add-on collects all the information from the source image and allows you to search for similar images online, higher resolution images, and appropriation information.
Google Reverse Image Search (Firefox)
Google reverse image search is exactly what it sounds like – a simple tool to let you search any images reversely on Google Images to find other copies of the very same image. This is a handy tool for locating different sizes and resolutions of the same image. Being a Firefox extension it also allows for important time saving measures.
TinEye Reverse Image Search (Plugin)
The TinEye plugin is available on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, and Opera web browsers. The plugin comes with a complex contextual menu that prompts for the search of an image and provides the source, type of uses, modified versions, and like many others, higher resolution options.
There are a number of reasons a user might want to complete an upload image search or image recognition search.
Find the original image
Firstly, finding the original source of the image may provide adequate copyright information and trademark appropriation. This may be important in understanding who created the image and to protect your company from any sort of copyright infringement. Additionally, the original image may provide some insights on to what the subject matter in question is. Furthermore an author or website admin may want to track down the original content creator for a number of reasons.
Higher resolution images
A user may wish to have a higher quality image or one of higher resolution, thereby utilizing the lookalike images function to reverse image search. Ever see a cool wallpaper or design that you’d like to incorporate into your setup but can’t find the exact fit? Reverse Image Search might be able to help with that.
Track copyright or trademarked images
Photographers and graphic designers may wish to leverage Google image finder to locate webpages where their images appear. There are a number of crawlers and services available online to keep you up to date with where your images may appear.
Find out what is in the picture
Finally, image reverse search may allow the searcher to find information about his image’s subject matter. This tool could be especially useful in the creative space of the arts and monuments to identify a specific work you find interesting.
Whatever your purpose may be, and whatever your tech device is, there is a multitude of options for you to leverage the incredible capabilities of completing a reverse image search. This technology has gone through a massive grass roots overhaul in the years that seemingly will do nothing but improve upon the technology of today. Look for reverse image search technology to mold its way into other parts of our intertwining technological and real world experiences like facial recognition software, video games, virtual reality, native advertising, and wearables like Google Glass.