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Reverse Image Search: A Tutorial on How to Search by Image

Do you want to find similar photos across the web? Or, maybe you have downloaded lots of images to your system, but you can’t remember the sources of those images. And probably asking yourself, “where exactly did I get these photos?” Well, you can easily find the image sources by performing a reverse image search on most internet browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.

Reverse image search (RIS) is a search engine tool for finding related or similar images on the internet. Google ImagesMicrosoft Visual SearchYandex, Yahoo Images, and TinEye are popular reverse image search tools. 

We have prepared this blog for people who’ve no idea how to find an image source. In this complete tutorial, you’ll learn the basic definition, purpose and benefits of RIS. And you will also learn how to use and perform a reverse image search on your mobile phone or desktop.

What is reverse image search?

Reverse image search (RIS) is a search engine tool for finding related or similar images. It has an advanced technique to search images without using any keywords in search engines. 

You can use this innovative image searching tool for personal or commercial use. Since it is free, anyone can use this tool to find the original source of the photos. For finding the related images, you have to upload a sample image or URL in the search box. It is very popular among professionals such as graphic designers, content writers, and web developers.

Purpose of reverse image search

Nowadays, professionals use reverse image search to verify an image’s authenticity by tracing its origins or to keep track of its usage across the web. Here are some of the uses of the reverse image search tool:

  • To debunk fake images and news stories on social networking sites.
  • Locating the original image information source.
  • Ensures you comply with copyright rules and infringement policies.
  • Searching for duplicated image content on the web.
  • To find information about unidentified products and other objects.
  • To find higher resolution picture versions of any image you found online.

How does a reverse image search work?

Before diving into our list of popular reverse image search tools, let’s first explore how a reverse image search works.

Most RIS tools use various algorithms to scan and recognise photos. They search images based on size, shape, colours, and any other unique features and characteristics of the sample image. However, there are some reverse image search tools that have facial recognition. This unique design helps a user to search images for specific data or people. 

The search process of the reverse image is quite easy and simple to work. People use reverse search tools for finding similar images, original source, or other relevant information.

Firstly, you need to upload a photo in the search bar for the most reverse search tool. Or, you can paste an image URL in the search bar. And that’s all you have to do. After that, the search tool will search the web and database to find what you are looking for. 

Well, most of these tools are compatible with both PC and mobile device browsers. However, some platform functionality is easier than others. Read on to find more about popular reverse image search tools.

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Benefits of reverse image search

The web contains trillions of images, and the numbers of images are growing continuously. However, not all of these images are authentic and original. Some photos are fake, while others violate copyright regulations. To find out whether the images are original or not, you need a tool that can authenticate images. 

A reverse image search tool is the perfect tool for this job. There are a lot of reverse image search tools in the market. These tools are free and easy to use, and you can use them in most internet browsers. Reverse image search allows users to identify fake images on the internet. Also, you can find out what websites they appear on. There are so many benefits of reverse image search. For example, with the help of RIS, you can:

  • Authenticate that people using catfishing technology
  • Discover suitable recipes from the internet.
  • Track image usage online.
  • Revolutionise fashion e-commerce.
  • Debunk social media profiles and posts.
  • Identify different objects.
  • Check the authenticity of creative artwork.
  • Explore unlabelled products to find relevant information about them.
  • Find out celebrities’ names.
  • Find a suitable apartment.

1. Authenticating people using catfishing technology

Catfishing technology

With the help of RIS, you can easily spot fake images on the internet. Also, it can help you in finding out the original image owner. 

Scammers use actresses, actors and writers’ photos to catfish online newbies. For instance, if you perform a RIS on a famous actor’s social account, there is a high chance that the account is fake. Hackers create these types of dummy accounts on social media sites to scam people. Therefore, a reverse image search could save you from being scammed or getting conned by hackers. 

2. Discover suitable recipes from the internet

Discover suitable recipes from the internet

It is possible to find out the name of a recipe with a picture of the recipe. Also, you can find similar images or recipes online by using a reverse image search tool. All you have to do is upload your image to the reverse image search tool, and that’s it. After that, you will find every detail of the recipe online.

3. Track image usage

You can track your images online by using a reverse image search tool. This tool helps you identify if someone is using your images on their websites.  For example, if you perform a RIS, it’ll use the sample image to extract valuable information. The tool converts the sample image into a digital query and shows you the result. So, you can find if anyone is using your image online without your permission. 

Also, reverse image search helps you recover compensation for unauthorised use. And it can help you in taking control of your creative work. You can use RIS for finding the unauthorised use of TV pictures, e-commerce product pictures and drawing.

4. Revolutionise fashion e-commerce

According to research, more than 85% of buyers prefer visual information over text information when shopping online. For example, if you see a shoe or dress other people are wearing on social media, you may like it. And you might wonder, “where can I buy this?” Well, you can do a reverse image search to identify the object and find relevant information about it. Also, you can compare the item’s price in different stores by using RIS tools. 

5. Debunk social media profiles and posts

Social media has become very popular, and around 3.96 billion people are using it. Everyday people use social media for connecting with people and creating viral news stories worldwide. 

You may come across fake profiles and mysterious faces while using Facebook or Twitter. According to research, there are 275 million fake and duplicate accounts on Facebook. Therefore, it is essential to know who is real and who is a scammer. 

So, you can conduct a RIS on profile and timeline pictures to check the authenticity of the users. Also, this will help you from getting conned or scammed by an impersonator.

6. Identify different objects

Science students can use reverse image search to identify different sorts of objects. They can use it for to:

  • Identify animals,
  • Prepare science projects 
  • Find plants names, 
  • Find species, and 
  • Other relevant, valuable information on the web.

For instance, you can use your camera and take a picture of a bird in your garden. And upload the photo in RIS to get its name and species in a few seconds.

7. Check the authenticity of creative artwork

Check the authenticity of creative artwork

Suppose you are an artist and want to find out if any person or company uses your creative work without your consent. Well, you can try a reverse image search tool to check your work. RIS tools can also help you identify the sources where your artwork photos appear online.

8. Explore unlabelled products to find relevant information about them

It is possible that you can find valuable information on the unlabelled products online using RIS tools. For example, if you perform a RIS on household furniture, you can uncover related information without the appropriate label.

9. Find out celebrities’ names.

You can find the names of actresses or actors from images from films, magazines or TV programs. RIS is a handy tool in identifying any celebrity’s name, hometown, and birthday or timeline history.

10. Find a suitable flat

Want to find the address of the house you want to rent, but your realtor has refused to disclose its location? Well, if the realtor shares a photo of the house, you can use a RIS tool to find the origin and location of the house.

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Popular reverse image search tools

Nowadays, there are so many reverse image search engines in the world. Some of them are very easy to use. Also, it can provide the best match to a search query. These search engines have a broad database to cater to their audience needs. As a result, they are more popular than the others. However, what these websites all have in common is their image database.

Below are the best reverse image search engines that you can use:

1. Google image search

Google image seach opened on a brower

Google Image Search is the most accessible tool for performing a reverse image search. It is the easiest and primary go-to resource for many marketers when they need a RIS. You can find the exact photos, check copyright, and also the image size. That’s why it is the most popular image search tool on the market.

Also, it is compatible with computer and mobile device browsers and free to use. Read on to know how to perform a RIS on Google Image Search in different devices and browsers.

2. Bing visual search

Bing visual search

Microsoft first introduced the Bing Visual Search tool in March 2014. Bing Visual Search is another straightforward and easy-to-use image search tool. Also, it is compatible with any internet browser. This tool is great for checking out if your competitor is using your images or similar images on their website.

3. Yandex

Yandex

Yandex is a Russian search engine. It also has a RIS tool that users can use without even creating an account on Yandex. The company developed search tools to track duplicate images. Just like Google and Bing, you can input the image in the search bar via URL or by uploading it, and find the source of the image you’re looking for.

All of its interfaces are in the Russian language. And this might be a problem for native English speakers or others. However, the quality of the pictures is top-notch in Yandex Image. Therefore, content creators & journalists, students & teachers, cautious social media users are using it.

4. Yahoo image search

The working process of Yahoo Image Search, Bing and Google image search is the same. However, you could not upload a photo in the search box, but the search results are different from the other reverse search tools. 

For example, if you search for a word in the search box, Yahoo will provide you with an endless stream of thumbnails. When you click a thumbnail, each image in the thumbnail will open as a slideshow.

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5. TinEye reverse image search

TinEye is a product of a Toronto-based company called Idee Inc. According to the company, they are the first website to use image identification technology. To use this service to find similar images, you have to upload a photo or paste an image URL. It also allows you to upload images of size up to 20 MB. And it supports different formats  of photos. 

6. Pinterest visual search tool

The Pinterest visual search tool was first launched in 2015. The company describes its visual search tool as a “crazy-fun image search tool”. Marketers love it and say that it is a fun thing to play with. 

But what makes it different from others? Well, with Pinterest, you don’t have to search the whole image. You can zoom a portion of an image and reverse search it to find similar images or pins. This makes the image search tools very intriguing to marketers. So, they like it very much. However, to use it, you have to sign in to Pinterest and start pinning images.

7. Getty images

Most marketers are familiar with Getty Images. Well, this is because it is a large and popular stock image site. There are a lot of graphics and photos available on this site. However, most users don’t know that it is also a reverse image search engine. 

Depending on the type of image you search, you may get thousands, if not millions, of results. Getty Images also provides an auto-suggest feature in their search tool. This feature helps users to filter and narrow down their image search results.

How to do a reverse image search on today's major search engines?

Nowadays, there are lots of reverse image search engines available to perform a search. You can use your favourite search engine to perform a reverse image search. However, among these search engines Google, Bing, Yandex reverse search tools are most popular. We have prepared tutorials on how to perform a RIS on these search engines. Read on to know more!

How to perform a reverse image google search on desktop?

Google Reverse image search works on almost all computer browsers. So, you use your favourite browser. However, most users use browsers like Chrome, Safari or Firefox to perform a reverse search.

1. Open google on a compatible browser on your pc

After opening a browser, open Google Images by searching it on the search bar or click here.

2. Upload your image or paste the URL on the browser

There are two ways you can perform a reverse image search. One way is to upload the picture directly, and the other one is to paste the image URL in the search bar. 

Upload Image in the search bar

To do a reverse image search this way, you need to upload a sample image from your pc. You need to:

  • Keep a copy of the image you want to search for or download it to your computer.
  • Click the camera icon on the right side of the search bar. 
  • Select the picture from your pc or drag and drop the image in the search area. 
  • Click the search icon on the search bar to find the result.

However, you can only search for one image at a time.

Upload the photo URL

Well, if you don’t have the image downloaded on your pc, you can also paste the image URL. To upload the image URL, you need to:

  • Press right-click on the image with your mouse.
  • Select the “open image in new tab” option.
  • Highlight the URL in the website’s search bar and copy the text by mouse or command key.
    • By mouse: Right-click on the highlighted text and select the copy option.
    • By command: After highlighting the URL, first press “CTRL” in windows or “command” in mac and then press “C”.
  • Click the “Paste image URL” tab or first press “CTRL” or “command” and then press “V” to insert your copied URL in the search bar.
  • Finally, click the search icon on the search bar to find the result.

3. Explore your results

Exploring image search on Google

After you click “search,” you will see your uploaded image at the top of the page. And there will also be some suggested keywords to explore your option.

You will also find similar images with different sizes of the uploaded image for you to download. From there, you can explore similar or relevant images or websites that contain the photograph.

How to perform a reverse image search on  mobile devices?

Well, if you need to do a quick reverse image search when you’re on the go? Well, Google Chrome is the perfect application to perform a reverse image search on the go. 

Here’s how you can do it without turning on your computer.

1. Open Google Images in your chrome mobile browser

Open your Chrome app, and after that, open Google Images by searching it on the search bar.

2. Switch to desktop view

Switching mobile browser to desktop view

In mobile view, there is no feature for image search. So, you need to get rid of the mobile view. To switch to the desktop view:

  • Touch the browser menu or option in the left or right top corner of the screen.
  • Select the options that say “Request Desktop Website” or “Desktop site
  • And this will change the screen.  Now, it will look like the Google Chrome browser. 

3. Upload a sample image

Reverse image search using mobile device

The next step is to upload an image in the browser. To upload an image, you need to:

  • Touch the camera icon on the right side of the search bar. 
  • After that, two options will appear. One is “Paste Image URL”, and the other one is “Upload an Image.”
  • Upload image: If the image is already on your camera roll, click the photo library and select the image
  • Upload URL: Paste the image URL in the Google Image search bar. 
  • Click enter or search the logo on the search bar.

Note: If you can not upload an image URL, then take a screenshot of the image and upload it

4. Explore your result

And that’s it. A new tab will open in the mobile browser. You can find where else the image is located and are there any different sizes available.

How to do a reverse image search on Bing Visual Search?

Bing Visual Search works on any internet browser such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. To reverse image search with Bing Visual Search, you need to follow the steps given below.

1. Open Bing Visual Search on a compatible browser on your pc

First, open an internet browser. After that, open Bing Visual Search by searching it on the search bar or click here.

2. Upload your image or paste the URL on the browser

There are four different ways you can perform a reverse image search in Bing Visual Search. These methods are:

  • Upload image
  • Paste image URL,
  • Take a photo, and 
  • Find an image. 

Upload Image in the search bar

To do a reverse image search this way, you need to upload a sample image from your pc. You need to:

  • Keep a copy of the image you want to search for or download it to your computer.
  • Click the “Browse” button on the website. 
  • Select the desired image from your pc or drag and drop the image in the search area. 

Upload the photo URL

If you don’t have the image on your pc, you can also paste the image URL in Bing Visual search. To upload the image URL, you need to:

  • Press right-click on the image with your mouse.
  • Select the “open image in new tab” option.
  • Highlight the URL in the website’s search bar and copy the text by mouse or command key.
  • By mouse: Right-click on the highlighted text and select the copy option.
  • By command: After highlighting the URL, first press “CTRL” in windows or “command” in mac and then press “C”.
  • Click the “Paste image URL” tab or first press “CTRL” or “command” and then press “V” to insert your copied URL in the search bar.
  • Finally, click the search icon on the search bar to find the result.

Take a photo with the device camera

You can also take live photos of the object or person to do a RIS on the Bing Visual Search engine. To take a picture, you have to:

  • Click on the “Take Photo” button. 
  • If you are using Bing visual search for the first time, the website will ask permission for using the camera. So, you will need to allow the camera to use this feature.
  • Take a picture with the camera. After that, similar and relevant images will appear automatically on the web page. You can also upload an image from there.

3. Explore your results

Exploring image after reverse image search

Well, that’s it. You have your reverse image search results now. You will also find similar images of different sizes. From there, you can explore similar or relevant images or websites that contain the photograph.

How to perform a reverse image search in Yandex 

Yandex reverse image search works on any internet browser such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge. To reverse image search with Yandex image search, you need to follow the steps given below.

1. Open Yandex Image on a compatible browser on your pc

First, open an internet browser that can support Yandex Image. After that, open Yandex Image by searching it on the search bar or click here. If you don’t know how to read Russian or prefer the webpage in English, you can translate the webpage into English. For instance, you can use the Google Translator tool to switch languages. 

2. Upload your image or paste the URL on the browser search bar

Searching for image by uploading or pasting URL

Click on the “Camera” icon. After that, a prompt will open, and you will see the two options to do a reverse image search. One way is to upload the picture, and the other one is to paste the image URL in the search bar. 

Upload image in the search bar

To do a reverse image search this way, you need to upload a sample image from your desktop. You need to:

  • Keep a copy of the image you want to search for or download it to your computer.
  • Click the camera icon on the right side of the search bar. 
  • Select the picture from your pc or drag and drop the image in the search area. 
  • Finally, click the search icon on the search bar to find the result.

Upload the photo URL

Well, if you don’t have the image on your pc, you can also paste the image URL. To upload the image URL, you need to:

  • Press right-click on the image with your mouse.
  • Select the “open image in new tab” option.
  • Highlight the URL in the website’s search bar and copy the text by mouse or command key.
    • By mouse: Right-click on the highlighted text and select the copy option.
    • By command: After highlighting the URL, first press “CTRL” in windows or “command” in mac and then press “C”.
  • Click the “Paste image URL” tab or first press “CTRL” or “command” and then press “V” to insert your copied URL in the search bar.
  • Finally, click the search icon on the search bar to find the result.

3. Explore your results.

After you click the “search” icon, you will see your uploaded image at the top of the page. And there will also be some suggested keywords on the right side of the uploaded image to explore your option. Also, the website will show you other available image sizes and websites with the same photo.

Note: Yandex Image is not as fast and user-friendly as Google Image Search.

Conclusion

The reverse image search technique gives you the tool to upload a photo on search engines. You can use a phone, tablet, or computer browser to find visually similar, related images, specific search results, and more. 

However, most users and marketers may not be aware of the reverse image search tools. Therefore, many of them end up wasting time looking for specific images on the web. This is because they are unsure of what to call them or where to find them. So, appropriate use of a reverse image search tool can make your day-to-day a lot easier.

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September 7, 2021

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