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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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.