Most people use text when looking for pictures with Google Images Search. For example, a search for ‘cute cats’ produces more than 87 million picture results for our furry feline friends.
Less widely used/known is the ability to reverse image search i.e. search Google with an image – to find matching images.
Reverse Image Search – This can reveal where else on the internet a picture is used.
Last week I reviewed how to find out who is stealing your website content i.e. text – but reverse image searches can find out if someone is stealing your pictures too – especially important for photographers and website owners who own the rights to their own images.
However, reverse image searches also display a link to ‘visually similar images’ – very useful if the image you already have is not quite what you want. I’ll look at three common methods to perform reverse Google image searches:
- Directly at Google Images – for users of any web browser
- Via a Firefox add-on
- Via a Chrome extension
1. Google Images
Go to Google Images – via the black navigation bar in Google’s home page or directly via this link. Click the camera icon:
Now choose to input an image by URL (website location) or by uploading it from your computer:
Tip: to get an image URL, right click an image on the web and Copy the image’s URL. Return to the Search box and Paste in the URL.
By default the search will look for all sizes of the picture you specified but you can change to specific sizes if required.
As well as a list of pages that include matching images, the results include a link to ‘visually similar images’ – these are usually remarkably similar in theme, look and color to your original.
2. Firefox – Google Reverse Image Search
A simple but effective add-on which adds a context-menu (right click) item for images to search Google for that image. Navigate to a web page that contains an image, right click on the image and select “Reverse Search on Google”.
The search page will open in a new window/tab. It produces the same result as the Google Image Search ‘Paste URL’ option but saves time – you don’t have to copy the image URL, open Google Images and then paste the URL.
Google Reverse Image Search does not require a restart of Firefox – install from Mozilla Add-ons here.
3. Chrome – Search by Image for Google
Basically the same as the Firefox extension above – it adds a context-menu (right click) item for images to search Google for that image.
The search results page opens in a new tab and produces the same result as the Google Image Search ‘Paste URL’ option.
Install from Chrome Web Store here.
Google Images Search is an easy way to find copies of a picture from a URL or from your computer. Firefox and Chrome have simple add-ons which greatly speed up the process of searching for an image by URL.