Indeed, no one needs introduction to image search anymore! Since 2001, when Google Images was introduced, the internet giant has been helping thousands of users to find appropriate images they are trying to find using keywords. We are sure that most of us, 90% or more, would have used Google Images or other image search engines for variety of purposes. However, time has changed, now it is all about searching using images instead of searching for images – Reverse Image Search. In this article, we shall explore different sides about Reverse Image Search, how search using images works, and some sorts of instances when you can utilize reverse image search engines.
What is Reverse Image Search?
First, let us tell you what image search is using some technical terms! According to Wikipedia, Reverse Image Search is a CBIR (Content-based Image Retrieval) technique. CBIR, also known as Query by Image Content, considers content of image as criteria of search rather than metadata information; usually, metadata information include details image contains in it such as camera used to capture, use of flash etc.
Technology behind Reverse Image Search
As we mentioned earlier, CBIR considers several aspect of an image to perform search in database. Major factors are as follows.
Color: As a significant factor, search engine compares color of images with those in their database. For every image, there will be a color histogram; so, the search engine will compare both histograms to find whether there are similarities or differences.
Textures: Visual patterns of image are also considered as criteria for search using images. As the process of textures is a sort of complex, textures in each image are converted into 2D grey level graphs. Search engines use this information for running comparison between images and hence to find matches.
Shape: Search engines also consider shape of specific region of images to find matches.
Including aforementioned factors, reverse image search engines account several factors to determine identity of an image. Obviously, then search engine uses this identity to find matches. However, results may vary according to the place where reverse image search engines search for images.
Different Kinds of Reverse Image Search Engines
Recently, here’s a well detailed article about reverse image search engines, where you can find some search engines, you can use for searching using images and thus to find matches. There are a few reverse image search engines, and they use variety of methods to find matches, though basic principle remains same. Two search engines we can use to find differences are TinEye and Google Search using Images.
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To use Google Search by Images, you have to upload image, provide URL, use in-built chrome feature or make use of web browser extensions. Once you have input image, it will run search over its database to find matches. Results will include visually similar images, sites that have used that particular image, results with other sizes etc. In addition, if image is a bit popular, it will give a guess on what the image does refer to.
However, TinEye is a bit different in this case. When compared to former, feature of TinEye are more extensive. For instance, while it finds out exact matches of that, the search engine is capable of finding altered images. When I did a search attempt using an image of Steve Jobs, it not only showed exact matches but also images that have same image of Steve Jobs in it. This means that search methods of TinEye are more accurate and productive, and it does offer extensions for web browsers as well. In addition, comparison feature of this service also makes TinEye useful.
Like this, we can find different kinds of reverse image search engines! Some search engines are more productive, as they offer more customization over search results.
Search using images will be very useful in following kinds of situations! Well, these are just some examples and uses are infinite, indeed.
Find Plagiarism: Suppose you are a famous photographer, but you do not know whether someone is claiming authorship of your photographs in some other websites. You can also know if someone is illegally using your photos for their commercial or non-commercial purposes without attributing proper credits. What you have to do is to search using that photograph; search engine will bring you matches of that image as well as sites, which has published the image. If you are not aware about that particular usage, you can move on with legal actions within no time.
Find Fake accounts in Social Media: Doesn’t it sound interesting? We guess so! Even though we can’t depend upon this, this is very useful. Suppose you have found an account, let it be of men/woman (gender equality!) in Facebook but you are not sure about its integrity. What you can possibly do is to run an image search using his/her particular image, and you know the rest!
Recognize People, Product etc: Yeah, it is very simple! You can do a reverse image search to identify images of products or persons, who/which are popular but you do not know. This is applicable in case of some non-popular products as well, especially if someone else have published articles/images about that product.
We know that applications of reverse image search are something huge in number, and we cannot include such a big list here. So, it is now your turns to let us know how you utilize reverse image search engines.