Definition

reverse image search

Part of the Wireless and mobile glossary:

Reverse image search is a search engine technology that takes an image file as input query and returns results related to the image. Search engines that offer reverse image capability include Google and TinEye. Some websites, such as Reddit, also provide a reverse image search capacity.

To use Google's reverse image search, go to the image search page or any image results page and upload an image file from your computer or enter the URL from an image online. You can also download Chrome and Firefox extensions that will allow you to get search results by clicking any online image. The process works best with images that are connected to online content -- things for which potential results exist -- rather than obscure images. 

Practical uses for reverse image search include:

  • Locating the source information for an image.
  • Searching for duplicated content.
  • Ensuring compliance with copyright regulations. 
  • Finding information about unidentified products and other objects.
  • Debunking faked images. 
  • Finding higher resolution versions of images.

See a video introduction to TinEye reverse image search:

This was last updated in April 2013
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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