Let’s say you have a friend on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever that always posts
horrible hilarious pictures.
These pictures are so
horrible hilarious, in fact, that you’d like to find out where your friend is getting them from.
A couple years ago this meant you’d have to randomly surf the internet looking for pictures similar to the one your friend posted, hoping you’d eventually find the right website.
But now many search engines have added a “reverse image search” feature. This feature actually lets you search the web using an image instead of a search term.
It works like this: You upload an image to the search engine and the search engine analyzes the image. This analysis takes many areas of the image into consideration, like color and shapes in the image, and then attempts to match them to the closest image with similar metrics in its database.
This is a really complicated process for the computers that do the analysis, but it’s really easy to use.
Reverse Image Search Using Google
Searching for the source of images using Google is almost exactly like searching using words.
On the Google Images search page, click the little camera icon. You should see new options pop up that look like this:
If you have the web address of an image your want to find the source of, type it in or paste it on the line provided.
If you have an image on your computer you’d like to find the source of (more common) click “Upload an image” and Google will let you upload your image.
After that, just press “Search by image” and your search will take place like normal, with the results displayed just like a normal Google image search.
Reverse Image Search Using TinEye
TinEye is a similar reverse image search engine that actually predates Google’s image search. It also uses different metrics to compare images, so the results may be different than Google. Different results can be helpful in narrowing down where an image came from or finding all of the locations where an image is hosted.
TinEye’s search interface is almost just like Google’s. You can search by uploading an image, entering its web address, or just dragging and dropping an image onto the page. That third option could be very useful for people who are not skilled at using computers.
After the image search is complete, TinEye will show a list of all the results it found ranked in order of what it thinks is closest to what you were searching for. It will also provide the web address for any images it finds.
That’s it, now you know how to track down the source of images online.
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