Stephen is a freelance writer and blogger based in Charlotte, NC. His contributions to ZDNet cover topics related to security, gaming, Microsoft, Apple, and other topics of interest with a tech/SMB skew.
Finally. Google has rolled out the ability to perform reverse image searches. Up until now, if you wanted figure out the source of an image, your best bet was to use Tineye (though some other more obscure services also exist). I always thought Google would just purchase Tineye and make it another addition to their repertoire, but it seems they decided to keep it all in-house. In my opinion, the more services I have to perform this task, the merrier.
If you don't know what reverse image search is, here's a scenario to clearly spell it out for you. Let's say someone added you on Twitter or Facebook. You see their main picture and you think yourself, "man, that sure is an attractive person... almost too attractive to have just added me to their list of friends!"
Lucky you, you can now save that picture (or copy the direct link to it), go to a site like Tineye or Google Images, then upload the picture (or provide the direct link) to it and voila! If that picture has been found anywhere on the Web by Tineye or Google Images, you will be provided with links to all the places that image was found. For a deeper dive into Tineye and for ideas on how to use Tineye like a Web sleuth, check out this article of mine.
Back to Google Images, here is their official promotional video explaining how to use it and other search scenarios it can be useful for:
So, how does Tineye and Google Images compare? I took 10 images ranging from various subject matter to see how the results panned out. While I planned on doing an info-graph to show the two side-by-side, there was just no comparison. Google's vast reach outperformed Tineye in every single case I tried. While I'm sure there are scenarios where utilizing Tineye may yield results when Google doesn't (or, at least, may yield results that add to Google's), I've yet to run into one as such. Sorry, Tineye.
With that said, what are you waiting for? Start digging through those directories of images you've saved through the years and see what you come up with! Never again will you have to wonder if @HotnessInYaFace23479 is some celebrity "wannabe" or an actual celebrity! It really is a great way to search and an asset to those who understand its value -- and to those who simply have yet to, but will.
For more on Google Images reverse image search functionality, check out their promotional page.
-Stephen ChapmanSEO WhistleblowerRelated Articles: