Google competing with TinEye

Do you remember TinEye? This is the company which has been offering since a few years an image search service where you show a photo (or a picture) and they find copies on the web (useful for the photographers). This can also help you find the original (useful for webmasters).

TinEye was always a little limited by the small number of searched web sites, but the results were absolutely great: They even find look-alikes, pictures that are quite similar but not identical (even deformed, re-colorized, cropped, etc.)

Notice the small blue camera

But here comes the web heavy-weight. Competition is going to heat up significantly: Google starts a very similar option in Google Image Search, which uses the small blue camera appearing on the right of the search bar when using the Chrome browser (and probably all browsers in the near future).

Female GiraffeI tested this image search service to look for an image I know quite well (a giraffe photo I shot in South Africa in 2007 that I know is already quite pirated on the web – I found it in a number of different places but for those interested I have another giraffe photo which is even more pirated even if it is much less beautiful than this one, I think).

As a photographer, I’d like to find all the people who made a copy of my work and check if -a least- they took the time to attribute it to me (not enough, it’s copyrighted) or to give a link back. For YLovePhoto readers, I thought it would be interesting to do the test, review the results and share my impression about the service.

There’s no doubt in the results:

  • TinEye: finds one copy on a French SkyBlog where the size was altered.
  • Google: recognizes a giraffe, provides some basic data about the animal, finds some similar images (12 giraffe photos including 2 which have a very similar attitude) and finds 2 pages of blatant copies of my own photo (all sizes including a black and white modification). The two copies on my own web site are present in the list but not the one originally found by TinEye.

Temporary conclusion: Kudos to Google! But, TinEye is no junk and we should not forget it right now.

My recommendation to Google: Your results will be even better if you purchase TinEye (the founders will be happy to receive 50 millions US dollars) and keep the results presentation which are really great.

YouTube link