OK, this is pretty cool.  Google has taken the traditional search for images and turned it upside down (or in side out?).  Up until now you could enter a search term into Google and search for images that match your entered search query.  But now, you can actually upload an image and search for sites on the Internet where that image is displayed as well as for images that are similar to your uploaded image.  Search by Image has several promising uses.  For one, you can upload your own images and see if anyone has “borrowed” them to post on their own sites.  Or if you find an image that is close to what you were looking for but not quite, use Search by Image to find more images that are similar.  For research purposes this tool can be used as an alternative to the traditional keyword search.  Find sites based on the images they display rather than the text on the page alone.  Pretty awesome.

Here’s how it works:

You have three ways to search (because three is way better than one).

1) On the Google Image Search page simply drag and drop an image file either from your computer or from a web site and voila, Google returns the matching results.  If there are no images that match exactly Google will show “visually similar images” that it deems come close.  Visually similar appears to be based on coloring more than anything else.

Screen shot of Google's reverse image search results

2) Your second option is to upload an image rather than drag and drop.  See that little camera icon in the search box of the screen capture above?  Simple click on that and then browse for an image to upload from your computer.  The search results work the same as option 1.

Screen capture of the Google Image Search image upload box

3) Last option is to copy and paste an images URL from the web into the Google Image Search box as shown above.  Simply right click on an image and select the copy image location and paste that in the search box.

2 Responses to “Reverse Image Search by Google”

  1. Matt

    on June 21 2011

    Do you know of a query that can do a search by image? Something like operator:imagelocation.com/image.jpg?


  2. Mike

    on June 21 2011

    Hey Matt,
    I am not aware of any way to search by image other than the new reverse image search.


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