Reverse Image Search – Everything You Should Know

You all are familiar with the way of inputting letters to find matching results — not a single day passes, for a common internet user, without using Google search engine or any other alternative you prefer to it. Nevertheless, there MAY be some instances when you have no words / letters to input, but rather some images. A few days back, for instance, one friend of mine put one celebrity’s younger-age photo as profile picture and told me to find out who the celebrity was. Well, in such situations, Reverse Image Search is the technology that can restore your hopes! In this article, we try our best to guide you through Reverse Image Search, services that allow you to perform Reverse image searches, common instances when reverse search will be useful and some technical stuffs about the way reverse image search works. And, we will start with an introduction to Reverse Image Search and the way it works.

What is Reverse Image Search?

As we said earlier, Reverse Image Search is about uploading a specific image file and using it as the search term! As it was mentioned in example — a celebrity’s younger-age picture, you might stumble upon some images that you have no single idea of. In those cases, you can just upload the image or point out the URL to use that image for search and find out corresponding results. In technical terms, Reverse Image Search can be called Content-based image retrieval query. For finding out similar images and other kinds of results, common Reverse Image Search engines make use of the following factors and others too.

reverse image search

  • Some of the Reverse Image engines use color to find other results. They create a color histogram, which is then compared with that of other images in the directory. If there are noticeable matches between both the histograms, the pair will be brought into result page.
  • Textures in the image are also subject to the scanning of reverse image search. Here as well, texture data will be converted to 2D Grey Graphs, which are then used for comparison and selection of matching results.
  • Shape of the image is also a matter as far as these reverse image search engines are concerned.

These are not the only factor. In fact, each reverse image search engine utilizes a specific mathematical algorithm for comparison of input images and others in directory.

When to Use Reverse Image Search?

There will be even cleverer ways to utilize reverse image search engines, but you can count the following ones in any case.

  • You can use reverse image search when you come across a scenario as mentioned in introduction. It can be a very helpful one when you have an image but do not know what it is!
  • From a photographer’s or designer’s perspective, reverse image search engines will be useful when it comes to finding out plagiarism or analyzing popularity of work. You can just upload your poster, photograph or any other picture and these search engines will tell you where all it has been published.
  • The next time someone blabbers about this or that using some fake photographs or something, you can use this reverse image search to bring truth into limelight.
  • Often, you may need higher-resolution versions of images. Using these search engines, however, you can do that and Google Search by Image has a particular section for that.
  • Reverse Image Search will also be helpful when it comes to finding out the real author of a work, which may be being propagated by fake authors.

Services & Apps for Reverse Image Search

Google Search by Image, often referred to as simply Google Image Search, is perhaps the most popular as well as an extremely effective reverse image search engine you can find. You can either upload the source image or paste URL of the same, followed by Enter key. Soon, you will be provided with enough details about the image, including other sizes of the image available, a guess on what is in the image and the list of web pages that use the particular picture. Google Search by Image would be effective when you want to have a deeper search for the image and Google has its directory covered almost everywhere, you know. Another feature that makes Google Image Search impressive is the support for extensions. There are extensions available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. By installing that corresponding extension, you can bring Search by Image into context menu that is you can right click on image and perform a reverse image search— simple as that.

With more than 12.3 Billion indexed images in the directory, TinEye is a wonderful solution for reverse image search, when you don’t want to move with Google Images. Being a dedicated solution for reverse image search, TinEye has a lot to offer such as the MatchEngine for finding duplicates, automated image tracking alerts, MulticolourEngine and a lot more. Trusted by many popular companies, TinEye can be integrated to other products using the API too. As the service considers image as a whole, there will be limitations to the search engine, such as you cannot get guesses on what is in the image. On the other hand, TinEye gives you a large-enough list of websites that do use the image. Yet, it has an option to compare the input image and result image. Its browser plugins are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera. These plugins also bring search button into context menu. You can find plug-ins here.

Google Goggles is an Android app from Google, which lets you do a lot of things along with reverse image search, like scanning an image for text and translating it to preferred language of yours, scanning QR Codes etc. In the crux, you can use Google Goggles app to find out more about a particular image, which you’ve just captured or stored in your device. Google Goggles will be handy in several situations, such as when you’re stranded and do not know language or anything else. Indeed, Goggles is a quite-handy, multipurpose app for image-based searches.

Reverse Image Search is an app for Windows Phone that makes use of Google, TinEye, Yandex and Bing to give you a set of impressive results of matching images when you input an image from your device. You can use the app right away from the Windows Phone and the results would be comprehensive enough. This stable app is quite easy to use and weighs as less as possible. You can count this in when you need an all-in-one solution for reverse image search.

So, have you used reverse image search? If yes, we would like to know how helpful it was!