Thinking about reverse search

Last week I used an image that had been shorn of attribution by the time I found it, and wanted to find a way to credit the right person. Lars Plougmann, a long-standing reader of this blog, found the source using a tool called Tineye.

Tineye calls itself a reverse image search engine, and is a pretty good service at the beta stage. There have been so many occasions where I had found the image I wanted, but not at the right resolution. Tineye appears to solve this; at worst, it tells you that the resolution you have is the best you’re going to get, so you don’t waste time looking.

I thought it was worth sharing. Not surprisingly, I went off on a tangent while using it, thinking about how similar techniques could be made to exist for audio and video files, and the kind of uses they could be put to.

Views? Thoughts?

6 thoughts on “Thinking about reverse search”

  1. TinEye is based in Toronto and run by two of the nicest and most sincere people you could meet. I love the tool and have the Firefox plugin installed, which makes it really easy to use.

  2. James, I’ve been a Shazam user for a long time. I hear very good things about their iPhone app, but I haven’t tried that yet.

    Jevon, if you do meet the people behind TinEye, do thank them for me. Great service.

  3. They’re probably the most advanced of that batch of apps, using visual fingerprinting techniques to recognised instances of a specific image.

    Another notable example is SnapTell, who have an IPhone app you can use to recognise book, album, and film covers.

    I expect big things in this field over the next couple of years, but then that’s the field I’m working in so I’m biased :)

  4. Edoardo, I agree. As we learn more about the the digital landscape, we will find better tools and better ways, new tools and new ways.

    Richard, besides SnapTell, I also like some of the barcode tools coming out.

Let me know what you think

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