Oh Google. In 2014 we used Google to search everything from Ebola to Flappy Bird, Zombies, and Giant Mutant Spider Dog. In fact, we searched more than 2 trillion times. That’s well over 5 billion searches per day!
While most of us use Google to conduct research on the things we collect, you may not be aware of a lesser known search tool: Reverse Image Search. Instead of beginning your search with keywords or questions, simply use a picture to initiate your search.
The tool can be used for finding similar images and research purposes, to discovering copyright infringements on your protected art work or photos. And for all of you online daters out there, you can even use it to validate the legitimacy of online profile pictures!
To initiate an image search, the process is simple. You can either upload an image from your computer or paste a link of an image you would like to learn more about. Like everything else with Google, they deploy algorithms to locate pictures similar to the one you’ve uploaded or linked to. The algorithms search for image attributes like color, size, shape, and resolution to located similar images. The results are served up in the form of “visually similar images” as well as webpages that host similar images.
For example, when I found a Civil War belt buckle on a recent metal detecting outing, I wanted to learn more about it. To start the research process, I simply uploaded a picture of the buckle along with a few keywords. To illustrate, I documented the process below:
Step 1: Visit Google Images
Step 2: Upload Your Image
Note: To search by image, you can drag and drop an image from your computer (or the web) into the search box. You can also select “Upload an image” and browse your computer for the image you want to use for search.
Step 3: Add Keywords & Search
To further define what you’re searching for, add additional keywords to the image search. This will lead to more accurate search results. However, keep in mind that you’ll get more relevant results for items that are prevalent on the web. For example, a picture of your ancestor who fought in the Civil War may return results showcasing similar photos but not necessarily photos of your ancestor.
To learn more about searching by image… Google it!