Image searching that works by TinEye

Daniel Pataki
Jul 9, 2008
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Internet, Search

What Google has done for text search, TinEye is trying to achieve with image search. Instead of typing in keywords to find images, you can upload an image, or copy a link to an image and you will be presented with all the occurrences of that image on the net that the search engine knows about. At first you will see images which are identical, but as you go down the list, you will see variations.

This is a great tool for image researching and especially blogging, because often I find an image I like and want to use, if only the hand wasn't in the way like that, or the background was different. Of course many of these can be Photoshoped, but not in all cases, and quickly searching for a different image is infinitely faster.

If you install the Firefox plugin your searches will become much faster, you can just right click on a picture to search for it via TinEye. It doesn't get much more productive than that!

The service is currently in closed beta, but go ahead and sign up for a beta and share your experiences. According to the video there are only a few (as in about half a billion) pics indexed, but there are a lot more coming up. As a blogger I can say in advance that this is a tool I will be using more than heavily in the future. I can think of a load of features they could add, like license indication, advanced filtering to only show identical or varied images and so on.

Update: TinEye is now open for everyone. You can still use it to search for images that you upload from your local system or by pasting an address pointing to the image on the search engine's site. Search results are displayed fast and you can sort the listing by best match, most changed or biggest image, the latter is excellent for finding a larger version of a file you are interested in.


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  1. epokh said on September 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I found some weak points for the tineye indexing engine. A short review here:

  2. yair said on July 10, 2008 at 12:58 am

    emailed them and got an invite after a couple of hours.
    great finds!

  3. Daniel said on July 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Lol, nice image :)

    I actually don’t know about the long term use of TinEye. I think it IS here to stay, but will remain largely hidden inside other software. Some people will use it like bloggers, but its biggest use will remain inside the industry I think.

  4. darkkosmos said on July 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks to tineye I’ve found this image

  5. Transcontinental said on July 9, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    The Web is so industrious! But for sure, some ideas, concepts, will remain whilst others may vanish with time. I think TinEye is to stay, it seems to be a fantastic tool ; btw, imagine a similar technique in 3D for videos!
    I registered for an invitation, received confirmation of having been added to… the waiting list! Hope it won’t be too long to discover what already amazes me!

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