A New Image Search Service-TinEye

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Search industry has no boundaries. With Google and Yahoo both now trying to integrate searching of flash component courtesy of Adobe, new players are trying to make their presence felt in this glittering industry. If I were to use my logical guess on how Google searches image files, I’d say, it uses, smart HTML components like Alt-text and also contextually placed text close to a picture to make sense of what that picture could be and indexes it for it’s very popular Image Search service.

However, there’s probably a better service that’s spreading it’s wings in the Internet arena for having a great potential as Image search service. This site actually is smart enough to search for similar images. The service is called as TinEye.

TinEye is smart and different from a traditional keyword based service as it uses another image to search for a similar image else where on the Internet. This service is right now in Beta stage, and you’ll have to sign-up for invitation to use this service. I got my invitation under 24 hours so if you are keep to try please sign-up for an invitation.

Before we go into the details of what the service looks like and how it works, let’s see what the creator of this this highly potential service has to say.

What is TinEye?

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology. Given an image to search for, TinEye tells you where and how that image appears all over the web—even if it has been modified. Just as you are familiar with entering text in a regular search engine such as Google to find web pages that contain that text, TinEye lets you submit an image to find web pages that contain that image.

Why Use TinEye?

  • Find out where and how an image appears online
  • Research products using a product photo
  • Find modified versions of unmodified images or vice-versa
  • Research the usage of editorial or stock images
  • Get international, multilingual websites in your search results
  • Research corporate imagery or brand usage online
  • Use a webcam to digitize any image and search for it on the web
  • Search for your images to see where they are being used
  • If I were to suggest a great usage, it would be to check on internet how many other girls on Internet look like your Girl Friend. I’ll leave the rest for your imagination and action.

How does TinEye work? Every day TinEye’s spiders crawl the web for additional images. Using sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms, TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature or ‘fingerprint’ for each one and adds it to the index. When you want to find out where an image is being used on the web, you submit it to TinEye. The attributes of the image are analyzed instantly, and its fingerprint is compared to the fingerprint of every single image in the TinEye search index. The result? A detailed list of any websites using that image, worldwide.


Let’s see briefly how this service looks and how to use it. The following is a snapshot of how it’s home page looks. I have put arrows to point the important areas of the web page.

TinEye Image search engine


It’s pretty simple to search images. This can be done in 2 ways. One by uploading the image from your computer and two by giving the URL of the image. However, my favorite way is by using the Firefox extension that this service provides. Following is a snapshot of how to use the extension from the context menu in Firefox. Just right click the image and hit Search background image in TinEye.

Launched by the popular, IDEE (A web technology firm), TinEye seems to have a lot of potential. You can find what various stumblers are saying about this service at http://www.stumbleupon.com/url/tineye.com/.

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