Reverse image search engines are a special kind of search engines where we don’t need to input any keyword to find pictures. Instead, we have to place a picture and the engine finds the images similar to one we entered. But, as familiar, reverse image lookup engines haven’t been able to make the needed impact in this time of internet. But, this doesn’t mean that these web services are not up to the mark but there has been lack of publicity which led reverse search engines to the virtual outsider. Furthermore, people find that tool necessary and thus they have been overlooking it since its initiation.
8 Best Reverse Image search engines
1. Google Images
Google images is a widely-used website to search images. Google images have the largest database than most of the other sites. In June 2011, Google Images introduced the feature of reverse image search. The mechanism of reverse photo search is via uploading an image from your computer or pasting the link of the image in the search bar itself, it works equally both ways, or we can simply drag and drop the image in search bar. Google images use algorithms based on various attributes like shape, size, color and resolution to get the similar pictures.
Google images is completely free to use, there is no limit on file size or file type, and it certainly has the largest number of images indexed so, the possibility of finding a match is extremely high.
Google images’ mobile site doesn’t perform reverse image search as there’s no option to upload or provide a link to an image. All we can do is search an image with the help of text. but there’s a third-party tool that lets do it on mobile and tablets.
If we using Google Chrome than we don’t even need to visit Google images’ site. All we have to do is right click on the image we want to search for, and then click ‘search Google for this image’.
TinEye has been the most popular and widely used reverse search engine till date with 13.9 billion images indexed. TinEye, as per their claims is the first website ever to use the image identification technology. To use this service, we have to upload the desired image or provide its link and command the tool to hunt for similar pictures. TinEye supports JPEG, PNG and GIF images, and the upload size is limited to 20 MB. TinEye doesn’t recognize the persons or objects in the picture, but it recognizes the entire picture as a whole. It can also be used to track down illegal use of copyrighted images or the stolen ones. In addition, it has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari which is great if we regular user of such services.
TineEye’s free version allows up to 150 searches a week. If we wish to exceed search limit and want to experience advanced features of TinEye, we will have to opt for its paid version starting at $200/year.
Apart from that, TinEye Lab features a Multicolor Engine that extracts color from 20 million royalty free creative commons images from Flickr, which makes these images searchable by color.
3. Bing Image Match
Microsoft’s search engine Bing came up with its very own reverse photo search tool named ‘Bing Image Match‘. The user can either upload the image or add it using the hyperlink and Bing will return the matching search results. It’s as simple as any of its rival search engines. But, the search results weren’t as satisfying as Google Images or TinEye.
In a recent update, Bing brought its reverse image search capability in its iOS app. All we have to do is take a photo using the Bing app and it finds the similar images. The limits this app is its un-availability in many countries.
Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine also has a reverse photo search tool of its own. Yandex images lets we input the image via URL or by uploading directly from the computer. Additionally, we can filter search results by file size (Large, Medium, Small). Yandex developed this search engine to track duplicate images. It’s a free reverse image search engine without the need of signing up, totally free and works smoothly.
If we using Yandex browser, we can easily run the search for any image on almost any website by right clicking on it and then hitting ‘search for this image on Yandex’.
5. Pinterest Visual Search Tool
Pinterest visual search tool is the most advanced reverse image technology always developed. The feature lets we search for visually similar images. Unlike other reverse image lookup tools where we had no choice but to search for the whole image, here we can zoom within a particular image and drag the zoom tool over the specific part in the Pin and search for it. We will see visually similar search results to the focused part only, almost instantly.
We can simply run a search using the visual search tool, and find out more about it. The feature works on the web version as well as on Android and iOS apps.
Note: For run a reverse image search on Pinterest, first we will have to create an account on it and then Pin the image from your account. Once it’s done, you can use the visual search tool to find similar images from Pinterest’s database.
6. Image Identify by Wolfram
Image Identify is not exactly a reverse image search engine, it’s an image identification tool that tries to compete with intelligence of humans when it comes to identifying images by looking at them. Image Identify is a part of The Wolfram Language Image Identification Project and it seems to be just the beginning and there’s a lot more we can expect from this tool. Though, Image Identify is certainly one of the best example of Artificial Intelligence place to use but it’s not perfect until now.
7. Image Raider
Image Raider is another reverse image lookup engine. Though, we can’t compare it with Google Images because it uses Google, Bing and Yandex search results to provide end results. But there are some additional features which makes this tool noticeable. Image Raider input more than one image at a time, which means we can run a multi reverse image search by using this tool.
Secondly, unlike other picture finder tools where we have only two options for imputing images via URL or by directly uploading from the computer, here we have multiple options for providing input image:
- Add image from XML sitemap
- Add URL of a page and this tool will fetch all the images from that page and use them as input for running the search.
- we can simply add images directly from your Flickr, DevianArt or 500px account.
If we designer or a photographer then we can use this tool to track websites where your work has been published without your permission or without proper attribution.
China’s biggest search giant Baidu also offers the feature to search from an image. The site opens up in Chinese language so the first thing we will have to do is to translate it to the language of your choice. If, we have working proficiency of Chinese language, we wouldn’t suggest to go with this tool. Also, the results are not as accurate as provided by other search engines.
How to do reverse image search on mobile and smartphone with the help of apps
Reverse image search on Android
- Google Goggles (app)
Google Goggles is a really good app from Google that lets we find images by giving an input image instead of text. What makes this app stand out from others is its interface, amazing service, high quality results and smart algorithm implemented in searching.
Reverse image search on iPhone
- Veracity (app)
When it comes to iPhone, there aren’t many apps available for reverse image search. Veracity shines among all because it is extremely easy to use, works well and returns satisfactory results. It lets we choose images from Camera Roll, Photo Library or Dropbox. Once we choose the image to be searched, tap on it and it’ll show the matching results. The app is completely free but if we need to remove ads off it, make an in app purchase of $1.99.
Update: If we are based in the US, we can make use of Microsoft’s official Bing App for iOS as it lets perform reverse image search.
Reverse image search on Windows Phone
- Reverse Image Search (app)
It is one of the finest app on the windows platform for reverse image search. It allows to use your favorite search engines viz Google, Bing, TinEye or Yandex. We can also upload photos from your camera or album or by URL. This app also provide an additional opportunity of cropping the image before entering it into the search box.
Add-ons / Extensions for Prominent Browsers
- Google Reverse Image Search (Firefox)
It allows to search relative images from the large database of Google Images. It’s quite useful as an add-on as it saves your significant amount of time.
- Who stole my pictures? (Firefox)
This Firefox Add-on lets we search for an image on a variety of reverse image search engines, which includes Yandex, Tineye, Google Images and VK.com. All we have to do is to right click on any picture and we can run a query for it on the search engine of your choice.
- Search by Image for Google (Chrome)
Search by Image is a very simple tool. All we have to do is right click on the image, then the tool gathers all its information from the source and allows to search similar images or provides same image in higher resolution.
- Bing Image Match (Chrome)
Bing Image Match is an official Chrome extension by Bing. Its working is a bit more convenient than its counterparts as it doesn’t open the search results in a newer tab, rather it displays information as an overlay page within the same tab.
TinEye Reverse Image Search (Plugin)
TinEye plugin comes with a context menu item that allows to search for an image, provides its source, its type of uses, modified versions and higher resolution versions. It is available for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.
There are so many services that offer reverse image search, the concept itself is not so popular.
Prominent uses of Reverse Image Search
Find Similar Images
The normal search engine sometimes show irrelevant results. In these scenarios, reverse image search engines prove to be of great help.
For instance, a blogger or a social media manager, who is in need of a similar image can use this service to get best results. we can apply the desired filters and get more precise results. Sometimes we can also find the high-resolution versions of the same picture we entered as a search query. Furthermore, from the bloggers’ point of view, similar images section is an important one, as they can find different sizes of an image.
Know Unknown Things
For example, we like a particular gadget and we have no information about it. Then, we can use reverse image search to solve your query. All we have to do is snap the picture of that gadget and carry out a search. We will get variety of similar images and the web places they’re taken from.
False rumour alert
One of the several things that harmful the social media is it is often used to spread false rumours and baseless information. Many such cases happen every day that spread discontent among the people as a result. But, if we need to be bit careful, reverse image search engines can help you.
So, next time we find a insecure image with a surprising caption, do carry out a reality check on the search engines that lets we search by an image to find its credibility. This way, we can stop all the wrong content from getting viral. we can also use this service to find out if the particular social media profile is false or a genuine one. Also, these tool comes in handy in situations where we need to verify a news, or for exposing scams.
Gaining insights of your work
The service can also be helpful in providing insights of your work. Assume, we are professional photographer with a good presence on social media and we upload your photos on regular basis. Then we can use this service to check out if your content is being copied or used without your consent. The search result will redirect to all the websites that have uploaded this image, this giving we complete information about your photographs.
Otherwise, if we technical person and we upload several infographics as a part of your work, we can use this service to track down illegal use your images. we can easily find out if your images are being used without crediting or giving the backlinks and thus take essential action against these activities.