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How to do Image Search on the Internet?

How to do Reverse Image Search?

We are all well accustomed to searching the web for images by providing keywords. How many of us know that Google also provides a beautiful easy to use feature where you can look up similar and minor variants of a specified image by simply providing an image itself. This facility not only helps you find more images that are visually similar to the one you provide, it also helps in knowing the original source of the image and finding a different or larger size (better quality) of the image you currently have in your possession.

Here is how you do it.

Open in your web browser. Below is what you see.

Click at the camera icon in the search box. You will see a search form as shown below.

Now, there are 3 ways in which you can do a reverse image search:

  1. Drag and drop an image from your local disk or from the web into the above search form. This image could even be an image already searched using google image search.
  2. Upload an image from your local disk.
  3. Provide the URL of an image you found on the web. To know the url right-click on the image and copy it's link address.

Google will immediately display a list of images that are visually similar to the one's you provided.

Here is an example search result.

How to find the source of the image?

Click on "Find image source". See illustration below.

You can even select a portion of the image you provided, by dragging the corners to narrow down to the required section of your image and look up for images similar to the portion you selected. See illustration below.

Apart from the above mentioned obvious advantages of Google Search by Image, there are other advantages as well for which you can use this feature, such as...

  1. You found an object somewhere and cannot figure out what it is. Take a picture of the object and upload it in the image search form. Google's smart search will not only find out similar images from the web but will also help know the name and other information related to the object.
  2. If you are a photographer and have been posting your own photographs on the internet, you can find out who has copied your photos and used in their website without your permission.
  3. Journalists frequently use this Reverse Image Search facility in their investigation to find out the original source of a fake photo that has gone viral.

A question you may ask...

What happens to the image that you upload to the "Search by Image" form? Does it become a part of the internet asset?

The answer is NO. According to Google, all such uploaded images are stored in their servers for 7 days and used only by them for quality assessment purposes. They never become a part of the internet.

Isn't this an amazing facility? Thanks to Google for making the web easier for us.

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About the Author
Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of premier engineering colleges & management institutes, and IT professionals.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & Web Services Worldwide. He has hands-on experience of building variety of websites and business applications, that include - SaaS based erp & e-commerce systems, and cloud deployed operations management software for health-care, manufacturing and other industries.

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