Google is adding the ability to do searches with just an image (official announcement here) which looks to compete directly with a site I use whenever I want to see who shot something or where it has been used (*what’s up with all these Russian blogs with copies of your images on them, makes zero sense). I see this being a very useful tool for photo editors who want to fact check something in an image or find out who shot something they like. Also, it seems like it would deter any legitimate businesses stealing images off the web. A simple image search will reveal the source (*sometimes I’ll see a suspicious image on a site and do a google image search for the keywords on the story and discover they pulled it off page 1. Really!?).

We’ll have to see how it plays out, but on the surface it seems like a good development for professional photography. With so much imagery flying around there’s a need for things that are original and unique.

Note: Looks like they will turn this feature on at 6 PM, PST today.

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  1. Nice! The problem with TinEye is the limited number of pages that it searches. I’m guessing that the Google engine searches all pages, or at least most?

  2. Sounds great to me….but when I go to I don’t see a camera icon like they say I will. I also don’t see a microphone, which is what the camera icon is supposed to be next to.

    • The camera icon appears to be on the right side of the search input box. You can click on it to upload or put in an URL. Not sure about the microphone you mention though.

      • I was a few hours ahead of the actual launch, apparently. The Google Blog (linked above) says the camera icon appears “right next to the microphone”….whatever that is. Still not seeing that.

        I found a new infringement, but as is noted below, it also failed to find a LOT of legitimate online placements I know about.

        The thing I’m most interested in is the ability to type in a description of the desired image and have it find that. This could be the start of a new way to source photos. I’m guessing Google will have the ability to go beyond searching keywords and actually identify features like colors, darkness/lightness, aspect ratio, etc. and include them in it’s results. If that could be refined it could be a quantum leap for art buyers (and infringers) in finding photos.

  3. Hello Rob,
    many thank for bringing this new Google-feature to my attention. I probably would have overlooked it.
    Just gave it a try and it works like a charm. By far better than any other (free) image tracking service (I’ve no idea about the paid services).
    Well, I’m also a bit frustrated now. I only have very few images online (< 100) and it is 'amazing' HOW many sites and blogs 'feature' the work. Without givin' (at least) credit, of course. Some are even used on commercial sites – how nice !

    I don't favor huge and ugly copyright signatures on the images and I'm considering to kick my (small) blog and just keep the flash site. I guess none does ever read my blog, it's just there to 'copy' images …

    Best, Reini

    Amazing, all these copyright violations of my image found in a flash. (and a couple of legit)

  5. My God it works well, much better then tineye. I can’t believe what I’m finding…

  6. Three pages of rip offs…

  7. Did find one surprise. I’ve tested it with images where I know where they should come up (different images and multiple places) and they simply don’t. Also, interesting that Facebook seems to be a big weak spot.

    So yes better, but still needs work.

  8. These results are really impressive, much better than tineye.

  9. Hopefully this will continue to work better than google searches in general. I’ve found the searches to be quite lacking over the past year. Searches for the unusual, obscure, or unique often brings of content farms which only have links to other sites or google ads. Often the sites seem to aggregate ebay listings and images.

  10. Seems to be ‘my milestone’ (in a negative way) … About 15,000 results (1.05 seconds) – quite funny

    Around 10 of them I had authorized. 1$ for each and I could opt for a new Leica lens :-)

  11. […] on the web – so ‘love’em or hate’em’ Google’s done it again. SOURCE ← Buy More Shite Add your comment now!Leave a comment Cancel replyYour email address will […]

  12. Anyone checked Google’s conditions?
    Have read reports there’s
    Google rights grab as trade-off.

    • “11. Content license from you

      11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

      11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

      11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.
      11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.”

  13. It gives different results from Bing as well as from Tineye, so no single solution is good for now.
    Frustrating really, but hopefully it will help photographers to reclaim rights and fees.

    The funny (?) thing is that BlogSpot seems to be the dark hole of photography, half of the results of illegal use are on there, but I assume that is especially because Google indexes that first.
    Then again, by having your site indexed, don’t you indirectly give permission for your content to be used on Google’s Blogspot? Interesting legal case…

  14. On my first search I found a load of infringements … all on blogspot.

    What’s the recommended course of action?


  15. […] post on google’s new search by image feature (Google Announces New Image Search) had a few photographers wondering what to do after discovering images of theirs had been used […]

  16. […] least, for the few images I put through as a ‘test run’. APE has the articles on the announcement and another recent one particular to copyright issues you could use as a starting point if you […]

  17. I hope it works properly!

  18. Well, I just started checking my images and within a few minutes one of my dance images came up being used on a French dance website for advertising, also on a blog. They even removed my watermark. Hopefully this new technology will put a stop to all the stealing.

  19. […] have people working on improving this.Check out these links to read more on Google Image search:-Google Announces New Image Search – APhotoEditorGoogle adds Search by Image – David SangerGoogle’s new Search By […]

  20. We always knew this was coming…text is easier to categorize than images so Google is limited by server processing capacity (they have alot & adding)..I found it this new engine was very good at famous works of art, and historical landmarks…does anybody know how to compel a copyright image to be indexed?…this would be great for pro photographers.

  21. I don’t see any camera icon. There is just the Search images box and next to that the advanced search just like the page.

  22. I don’t get the camera icon in the search bar. Is it because I use Safari as my browser?

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