TinEye – image search engine

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It allows you to upload an image from your computer and search the Internet for it.

You can also paste a image URL and find other places that the image exist on the Internet.

The interesting thing about this tool is that you don’t have to remember, or have, the same file name. It not only searches the Internet for exact copies of the image but also any derivations of the image in question even if the image has been resized, cropped and manipulated with Photoshop or any other such tool. The stated goal of TinEye is to find all of sites/pages that use some form of the original image. When I first looked at this tool back in 2008 it was in beta format and it had a much smaller numer of images to search from.

TinEye works by using Image Identification Technology, not keywords, metadata, and watermarks. The site currently has an amazing number of images indexed.

It is very easy to use. You upload you image or put in the URL and within a few moments the results come up.


A few ideas about how it might be used in schools include:

  1. Using it to check on students using images in a presentation but did not cite the source or as an aid to finding it again so they can cite the source.
  2. Alternatively students or teachers could use it to find better quality (higher resolution) images of their required object. 
  3. It could also help with anyone (students) creating and publishing websites to ensure that they do not use copyrighted photos or images or images without permission.
  4. In Business Management: You could begin a search about a product or brand by starting with a photo and then finding sites that contain that image to get further information about it. Or making sure that an idea you have for a product has not been used before.
  5. In Language studies: Another use may be in studing a language such as Chinese where it is character based. Taking a photo of the character and loading it in to TinEye may help you fnd the translation more quickly than the traditional dictionary. All the students would need is a camera in their phone and nowadays what phone does not have this!
  6. History: Tracing information about some historical cartoons. I looked up a number of propaganda cartoons for the Russian and French revolutions and managed to trace quite a lot of information about them

There is now an official TinEye extension for Chrome that works on Windows and Linux.


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