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TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

Sep23

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2009/09/23 09:18 AM RssIcon

A while back I wrote some posts on speciality search engines. Where I outlined some neat search engines that one should always have in your research arsenal. Some were Topic specific some were product specific, like the list of PDF search engines. Well here is a search engine that you will either like or hate. Not because it is a good or bad search engine, but because of what it does.

It is called TinEye. TinEye is a “Reverse Image Search Engine”. It has an incredible ability to find images on the web that are strikingly similar no matter how that image has changed or been used.

TinEye reverse image searchFrom their website: “TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions. TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks.”

Check out more information on their FAQ Page.

TinEye is still in beta, but it has some very promising features. At the moment TinEye claims it has over 3 billion images in their database. This database is being updated on a daily basis.

TinEye is the type of application that you either love or hate. If you are an artist, Graphic Designer, or anyone that posts images to the web, it is an excellent tool for finding how your images are being used all over the web. Because copyright infringements are so rife on the internet, this tool will go a long way in finding those infringements. What you do about that is your problem.

If you are one of those guys who steal images from the web, and I am talking about probably everyone here, then you will hate this search engine. Because it will soon find all images that are being used, no matter how that image has been changed.

I am ashamed to say that I have done that in the past. Now I try my level best to use images that are clearly in the public domain. This tool will go a long way in helping me to determine that.

Obviously images that are free and in the public domain will show up more, because they are used more often all over the web.

As an example I took the image below, which is an image I found on FreeFoto, and did a TinEye reverse search.

image

TinEye returned 161 result many of which were the exact same picture. But there were some results where the image was so radically changed that I had to look twice to recognise the original picture.

imageimageimageimageimage

An amazing array of results. This is amazing because of the many differences TinEye finds and the accuracy of comparison to the original image. I do not even want to know what the algorithm looks like nor the computing power which might be needed. These guys have done an excellent job.

Be careful what image you use on your blog or website. Because now they can find you. There is nowhere you can hide. In cyberspace no one will hear you scream.

Related Reading:

A List of Speciality Search Engines

PDF Search Engines

WolframAlpha, Your research resource tool.

Google vs Bing vs Yahoo?

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6 comment(s) so far...


TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

A while back I wrote some posts on speciality search engines. Were I outlined some neat search engines that one should always have in your research arsenal. Some were Topic specific some were product specific, like the list of PDF search engines. Well here is a search engine that you will either like or hate. Not because it is a good or bad search engine, but because of what it does. It is called TinEye. TinEye is a “Reverse Image Search Engine”. It has an incredible ability to find images on the web that are strikingly similar no matter how that image has changed or been used.
# ZillionsB.com

By TrackBack on  2009/09/23 08:14 PM
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Re: TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

That is super cool Robert! And amazing that it works. Good way for people to see how often their photo copyrights are being infringed, although I suspect the most common use will be for porn photos!

By Mike CJ on  2009/09/23 11:26 AM
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Re: TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

That is cool technology! It may hurt some bloggers who have not used stock photos, but just grabbed them of Google images.

By Gordie Rogers on  2009/09/23 11:34 AM
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Re: TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

@Mike,

I suspect you're right. Never-the-less, it is cool. I, as you are, am surprised that it works so well.

By Robert Bravery on  2009/09/23 11:52 AM
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Re: TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

@Gordie,
Yeah shamefully I have been too lazy in the past and done that. I try to be careful no days. But I think I can use this to find those stock public domain pics.

By Robert Bravery on  2009/09/23 11:53 AM
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Re: TinEye – a reverse image search engine.

Verrrrrry Interesting,
I now need to re-visit my huge graphics folder :)
Surely, it must be getting it's info from an image's meta-data.

By Johnluffa on  2009/09/23 11:58 AM
 
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