TinEye - The Reverse Image Search Engine
TinEye: An image search engine for finding copies of your pictures
TinEye is a different kind of search engine.
"It's being used by researchers who need to find where an image came from to provide attribution, even people who are trying to find out who people are in old photos. We had somebody who had a photograph of a soldier who'd arrived on the beach at Normandy and they couldn't find their name. They did a whole bunch of searches on TinEye and found a tiny little photo on an American website that listed everybody who'd gone to Normandy with a photograph. That's exactly when TinEye is useful, when you have an image but no words." TinEye CEO Leila Boujnane in an interview with PCPro
Rather than matching words, it matches images. It's also my favourite FireFox add-on! Your art and images - where are they now? TinEye can be used to find stolen art, as well as to track the spread of images and memes across the internet (Lolcats, anyone?)
"I love that icon! What a beautiful photo! Where is it from?"
If you see a wonderful banner, a painting you like the look of, an icon, or uncredited piece of art and you want to find out who painted it and where it came from, or even a Lolcat that you remember with a different caption, then TinEye can help!
First launched on May 6, 2008, it was beta only for a while, and now is freely available to everyone. You can find it at TinEye.com
TinEye is addictive. I now automatically install the plugin on every computer I'm on! Including at work!
How can TinEye help you?
Why are you looking for pictures?
The Benefits of Signing Up on TinEye
You don't have to have an account - and I hardly ever remember to log in to mine (I created it because it was required when still in beta mode)
But if you do sign up your searches are saved and you get permanent URL links to your searches that can be bookmarked, shared with friends, blogged, and so on - rather than discarded after 72 hours.
If you have, I'd be interested in hearing your stories! Please leave me a comment later in the lens sharing your experience?
(not a member and want to play? join now!)
Have You Used TinEye?
How To Use TinEye - Searches and Plugins - Searching For Images
"We received a number of e-mails from companies that run online dating services and basically what their members have done is use TinEye to actually find out if a profile is fake"
Site users would submit profile images to TinEye and discover that they were freely available online. The Daily Herald TribuneYou can enter the image directly on the search page or you can install the Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer plugin or the Bookmarklet for any browser (which sits in your bookmarks and searches for images on whatever page you are one when you click it).
Getting the image URL
Rightclick on the picture
Select Copy image location/image URL from your browser popup menu (which it is varies between browers)
Enter the address of the page the picture is on. TinEye will pull all the images it can find and ask you which one you want to search for.
(It doesn't always get everything). This acts the same way as the Bookmarklet.
But the picture isn't online!
If you've got an old photo sitting on your hard drive and you want to know where it came from, you can upload a file directly to TinEye.
Restrictions: Up to one megabyte (1MB) and as a JPEG, GIF or PNG.
Or install the addon
...and simply rightclick on interesting images as you browse.
Searching For Images - A Video Walkthrough
(Note, this was made a year ago, when TinEye was still in beta mode)
Is TinEye Any Good? - What do you think?
(not a member and want to play? join now!)
Is it worth using TinEye to search for images?
You Suck At Zazzle #6: Image theft - If it's not yours - don't use it (unless it's free clip art allowed for commercial purposes!!)
Very many times, I've stumbled into an odd little Zazzle shop full of stolen images - each picture in a different style, blurry, of a popular and well known image, or even still with the signature of the original artist on.
From the gallery view (although not the product view because of the weird flash-zoom effect), a quick click and Tineye search often brings me straight to the original artist (usually on deviantART).
Examples of Success... My First Art Theft - Finding My Stolen Artwork - Symbolic Flows(Colours of the Imagination)
This is my most popular image in my Zazzle store, and my most viewed painting on RedBubble.
it is also my first known case of art theft...
The TinEye search found it in another gallery on DeviantART - the file was renamed and wouldn't have come up when searching for related keywords. The user had uploaded it under their name and claimed ot have made it using a variety of (increasingly farfetched) techniques. (Actually, this last bit was just silly, as I tell everyone who bothers to read the description that it was painted in ArtRage)
(Note: the image has been taken down , since I reported it, but remains in the cache)
Finding Music - Search the album cover from your own photo!
Winter Fox: Example Search
TinEye and DeviantART
I picked a much more popular picture for my next demonstration - Winter Fox, a gorgeous photograph of a red fox standing in the snow, from Nate Zeman on DeviantART.
Understanding the Results - Identifying theft from searches, using the resultsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Finding The Artist - Finding the original artist through TinEyeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Tracking Down Photographs From An Email - Finding the original picture
Someone sent my manager one of those memish 'Best Photographs of... [insert year here]" emails, with some rather fantastic photographs. Unfortunately, there was no credit given, and she wanted to know where they showed. A quick google found theoriginal site the email came from, which was equally unhelpful.
So I dived into TinEye. (Actually, first I installed it).
The results pages were many, so I found the biggest versions and started looking for official site names. And finally I found them... credited in the Guardian website, but not coming up in TinEye. Of course, all I had to do then was search for the original website, and voila!
I had found the National Geographic! And a bit of browsing through their galleries turned up the photos, and descriptions.
TinEye Failures: My Daily Deviation - What do you mean, nothing?
TinEye isn't perfect.. It began with 702 million pages, and as of the 22nd of October, it has indexed billions of images, and still isn't turning up most of my known duplicates. For example, this search on one of my stock images.
As you can see above, it found nothing.
This photo is my most popular stock image and has been downloaded over 600 times.
Finding Your Images In Other Ways - When TinEye fails you...
Google Similar Images allows you to find similar pictures from your results
Above, is an example of what I found when searching for the same picture I found through TinEye. As you can see it brings up more - but all are associated with my title and belong to me.
You can search the title, the artist name, or the subject.
One trick of mine is searching part of the file name - eg (title).jpg and (title).png (of other formats - or (artist name)
this is obviously doesn't find images with the fileneames changed, but does find quite a few. Remember my stock photo?
Well, this is what I found...
(By the way - Google Image search also only brought back my original DeviantART page, so did no better than TinEye)
Clip Art - What if I want to find copyright-free images to use?
If you want pictures and can't draw or photograph or otherwise create them yourself, then you need to look at stock images and clipart. There are quite a lot of clip art packs available - they usually contain a CD-ROM (or several) of images. For stock sites, these usually cost money! But if you have a look around the web you should find quite a few.
Please leave me a comment!