TinEye: The Reverse Image Search Engine
TinEye is a new search engine that exactly does the opposite of how you normally search for images. Instead of using keywords to search for images and hoping that the one who uploaded them wasn’t too lazy to tag them, you can do an image search using another image. Things just got a little easier, well, sort of.
TinEye may be used to find similar images to the ones you have. You can upload an image (or paste an image URL) and TinEye will do an image comparison using their image identification technology similar to the ones that you only get to see on CSI. Pretty cool huh! The search engine will display results similar to your images. As of now, their index is still small but it is continuing to grow and may become extremely useful in the future.
When you submit an image to be searched, TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature or ‘fingerprint’ for it, then compares this fingerprint to every other image in our index to retrieve matches. TinEye can even find a partial fingerprint match.
TinEye does not typically find similar images (i.e. a different image with the same subject matter); it finds exact matches including those that have been cropped, edited or resized.
I believe that the TinEye search engine has a lot of potential and they are doing a great job with the image identification technology. I just wished that users are also allowed to do images searches the old fashion way. This will add more functionality to it by allowing the users to search for tagged images and use the image identification system to find similar images. I’m looking forward to the development of the software and perhaps develop it to search with keywords (like we normally do) and recognize the images through those keywords even if those images aren’t tagged.
iPhone users can also use TinEye to search for music through images. Just take a snapshot of the album art or grab them from somewhere on the web and let TinEye’s image identification system to do the work for you. It will give you links for that album on iTunes, allmusic.com, YouTube, and Wikipedia. No need to type the artist, album name or song title.
Whether you are doing research or having a little fun playing image detective, TinEye is worth checking out.