Google introduces Search by Image feature

Google recently introduced a new feature to Google Images that allows users to do a search based on an actual image rather than a string of keywords. The new feature allows searches based on images to be done either by drag-and-dropping online images or by select images on your local machine. Results from the Search by Image feature include:

  • Page results based on Google's "best guess" of the content contained in the image
  • A list of visually similar images
  • Pages that include matching images

While the first two results options are useful for finding related content to the image being searched, the third set of results will likely prove a valuable tool to photographers when it comes to identifying unauthorized use of photos. A quick search on a copyrighted image can show a photographer where his/her images are being used on the web.

For years, TinEye has offered their own "search by image" image service that also identifies instances of photo matches across the web. In fact, TinEye recently blogged about Google's new feature in their "When a tech giant decides to eat your lunch" blog post. While TinEye has proved to be an invaluable tool for reverse image searches, one can't help but think that Google's new Search by Image feature is going to take a huge bite out of TinEye's market.

A quick test using several of my own images yielded more extensive results through Google's new image search tool as compared to results from TinEye searches on the same images. However, TinEye vows to march on and continue to focus on solely on being an image-based search engine. As the TinEye blog points out, in essence, if you don't have any competition, you're probably in the wrong business.


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