We all know the old method of searching an image over the internet by typing a keyword related to what we are looking for. Did you know that there exists image search engines that allow you to make a search using an image? You have been living under a rock if you didn’t know these kind of tools exist!
Searching the web using an image allows you to explore the web in an entirely new way.
5 reasons to perform search using an image
There are various reasons why you would perform image search rather than searching an image by typing a keyword. Below are some ideas what you can do these tools:
- Find your stolen images on the web if you are a photographer, graphic designer, etc..
- Check if someone profile’s photo on Facebook is real or taken from the web.
- Find larger size and better resolution of the image found on the web.
- Explore the different sources where a particular image is found online.
- Integrate similar image retrieval technologies in your app if you are a developer.
I have compiled below the best sites to use for reverse image search. Actually, I have tested more websites than listed below, unfortunately the rest did not make it among the top 5 to use.
Among all online tools I have tested, I believe that none can beat the power of Google Image Search as it returned the most amount of results for the same image as compared to other websites. To upload an image, click on the camera icon in the search bar and in the new window, you will be asked to upload an image from your computer or paste an image link directly. Alternatively, you can also drag and drop an image from your computer to the Google Image logo.
Unfortunately, Google Image API has been deprecated hence you can’t use it to build an application.
TinEye also performs almost accurate image search as Google Image except that there’re fewer results. This might be because Google Image has more images indexed in its database than TinEye’s 2 billion images. Nevertheless, TinEye has something that Google Image does not have – an API. This is may be why companies like Ebay and Istockphoto has turned to TinEye to integrate its technology in their app. It is not free for commercial use though.
This tool can perform image search for people faces only and not objects. As compared to TinEye and Google Images, it automatically detects the gender and the age of the person in the photo. It also gives a suggestion of the person’s name if it is a celebrity. An android app is available for your mobile phone.
This website provides a tool called isk-daemon, an open-source app developed in Python to start your own reverse image search service. However, you will probably need a powerful server to host all these images in your database. You can find a live demo of the application here. If you are looking for similar open source application, this list from wikipedia might come in handy. As for the test with this service, it is less accurate as compared to Google Image and TinEye, but it is worth to check it out.
This was the least performing tool among all that I have tested, but it was worth listing it here since it provides a feature than no tools above has – it allows you to sketch what you are looking for. For now, it is still an experimental tool and maybe we should give it more time, and it might probably outperform Google Image or TinEye in the future. Who knows?