Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TinEye Reverse Image Search

TinEye Reverse Image Search

Well, I'm impressed.

Yesterday I read about TinEye on Cool Tools. This afternoon I found that my wife had forwarded to me an email she received, which contained this picture.

I thought the picture was funny, remembered the piece in Cool Tools, went back to the reader and clicked the TinEye link. After signing up for the service, I took a screen shot of the picture and uploaded it. In about a second they came back with 30 or 40 matches, which can be sorted various ways.

You can either upload an image or provide a URL to a picture already on the Internet.

They have a feature that allows you to toggle between the version of the picture you uploaded (or linked) and the versions they found on the Internet, so that you can do a flip flip comparison of picture quality. I'm not sure how valid that is given that all the images are presented in one size, whereas the pixel counts and aspect ratios vary. The result I got was that the screenshot version I uploaded was better than any of the larger-pixel-count versions they found. Maybe that's because I told SnagIt to make a high-quality jpeg file rather than standard.

If they don't make a match, the answer why is presented right there, which says that it's probably because they have only indexed 1.1 billion photos so far. Seems like a billion is such a small number nowadays...

In the privacy statement they say they don't add any pictures you upload for comparison to any index, and I guess they don't keep it. I didn't really care, but that's good. Of course, merchants are not supposed to keep your credit card's security number either.

Interesting site. I hope they succeed. I wonder what their business model will be. Photographer's copyright protection maybe?

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