Google has a cool tool, Google Images, which can search images. Provide it text, and the images returned will have related metadata or page information to your search. Now, for the really cool part, you can search based on another image.
Click the camera icon in the search bar and another box appear. Enter a URL or click the link to upload one. It uses the image provided as the search and returns similar ones.
Some uses I have for it..
- Who is using your images. It is easy for someone to download any photo posted on a web site. Then they can upload it elsewhere under another attribution. Searching for your images can help locate someone who is re-using your work.
- Correctly attribute images. I see a photo without identifying information and desire to find the source.
- Painting. Maybe a painting and I want to see more of the artist’s work.
- Photograph. Ditto. A concrete example is I saw a background of a web page for a State of Georgia (USA) web site with a Russian-style church with mountains in the background that looked nothing like those in this state. Searching on that image turned up a Blogger page with the same photo identifying it as in the Republic of Georgia.
- Identification of plants, animals, etc.
- Locate higher resolution version.
- Finding similar work. Once you click into “Visually similar” photos, you have all kinds of neat controls like size, color, type, and time. Maybe a logo looks derivative, but I am not familiar enough to know. Image search can locate very similar logos and point to the original.
- Scams. A friend was renting an apartment in Amsterdam and wanted to know if the place was legitimate. Using the photos from the email, I was able to find multiple other listings that all used the same photos.
- Identify Fake Profiles. Scammers are lazy and take photos from elsewhere on the Internet. This can find the original.
- Debunk Social Media. People share doctored or misattributed photos on social media sites all the time. This can find the snopes or other anti-urbanlegend site’s page on the photo.
I am sure there are more.
Anyway, I use this at least once a week.