How to Check if Others Are Using Your Images Online; #3 can be very useful

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finding similar pictures

The internet is multimedia rich. Videos, audio recording, and photos abound. If you bought a picture online, how can you ensure that NO ONE is using your picture without your permission? How would you even find out who are using which pictures?

Why would you want to know?

Yes, you would want to know how images are being used by people online. Her are the possible scenarios why you would want to know who are using your images in the cyber world.

Use Case #1: Stock photos

Imagine that you are a photographer and you published your premium quality photos on a stock photography websites and allowing only people or entities who purchased your pictures are allowed to use them online or in print advertising. Depending on how your pictures appeal to the viewing public, several people would in fact buy your photography.

Now, you want to ensure that indeed, only the people who bought your pictures published them online. This is protect the buyers of your pictures from those who might have run the same ads or ad concepts who are NOT paying for your premium material. Thus, knowing who are using your pictures online will be in your favor as the seller of the pictures, and the public who bought your pictures. 

Use Case #2: Checking the pictures "free" usability

Imagine that you are a blogger like me, or a corporate content publisher trying to locate a perfect picture to accompany and enhance your article to be published on your website. The easiest way to go about it is by doing a simple image search. And lucky enough, you found your "preferred" picture. However, you want to ensure that the picture is a public domain, or that the owner of the picture does not prevent anyone from using the picture without paying for it or asking for the owner's permission to use it.

So you will now begin to search for websites that use this same picture as the one you intend to use. When you find out that this picture is "commonly" used by websites without a direct reference to the owner's permission, then you can safely use the picture for your website.

Use Case #3: Verifying your mate's identity

This happens to a lot of men who were trying to find a long-term life partner online using various dating websites. These men found a very attractive lady with an enticing profile and a really good conversationalist. As time went on, these men fall in love for the online girl and wanted to do things in favor of the girl. Drama after drama, the girl went on and eventually talked about money matters.

At this point, the cautious guy, regardless of how in-love he could have become to this online girl, won't eaily give in to her monetary demands. The wise man will opt to verify if this girl is real, if she is the one she claims she is, and most especially, if she is actually the face behind the pictures she is sending.

This article will actually show you how to do a "reverse image search", which allows you to use the picture you have and search the entire internet to find out of this picture is only taken from other source. In the case of verifying your mate's identity, she might have sent you "her" picture, which you might easily believed, but doing the reverse image search will scan the entire internet if the picture that she sent to you is owned by someone else.

How to Perform the Reverse Image Search

There are two (2) common and best methods in doing a reverse image search. The first one is by using the Google Image service, and the second and probably the more efficient method, is by using "tin eye" online service.

Using Google Image Search

As we all know and believe, Google is the search engine giant, a really reliable and remarkable search engine. With its database of the world's images, you can easily perform a "reverse image search" to find out which websites on earth are using a particular image.

Google Image Search works in three (3) ways:

  1. You can search the web by uploading a picture stored in your computer
  2. You can search the web by dragging the picture in your computer and dropping it in Google search interface
  3. You can search the web by the URL of the picture in a particular website

In order to perform a recerse image search with Google, please do the following steps:

  1. Using your web browser, go to images.google.com or click the camera icon camera icon in the search box on any Images results page.
  2. Click Upload an image. Click Choose file. Select the image from your computer.
    Google reverse image search
  3. Another way to input the image that you want to search is by drag-and-drop. Click the image on your computer you want to search for. While holding down the mouse, drag the image into the search box.
  4. The last way to input the image that you want to search, is by using the image URL if this image is found in other websites, not in your computer. This means that you do not need to download the image to your computer.
    google reverse image search
  5. In either of the three (3) ways mentioned, once the image was uploaded or URL pasted, the reverse image search will then begin and you shall get a results page showing all websites where the image in search for is used.

Using Tineye (http://tineye.com/)

The other way of doing a reverse image search is by using a third-party image search engine called TinEye. With TinEye, you can do the same thing with the Google Image Search: upload an image to search, drag-and-drop, or searching through an image URL.

The best thing about this online service is that it is fast and searches yield the best maches of images. Let us learn this by using an actual example.

Let us check any website using an image for their "Contact Us" page. The usual or the common image is a call center girl with a headset on. Here is the sample image:

Sample contact us image

This is a direct link of the Contact Us image, with the image URL:

http://propertymanagementinc.com/wp-content/uploads/contact_us4.jpg

The actual website page is:

http://propertymanagementinc.com/contact-us-property-manager-jobs/

Our goal here is to use TinEye service to do a reverse image search and find out what other websites are using this "similar" image. Here are the steps:

  1. Use your web browser and then go to http://tineye.com/.
  2. As a test, we do not need to download a picture to our computer. Let us just use the image URL above (http://propertymanagementinc.com/wp-content/uploads/contact_us4.jpgin our serach. Therefore, in the main page, copy the URL and then paste it in the box saying "Enter Image Address". Then click on Search button.
    The TinEye image search
  3. Then you shall see that at the time of searching, there are 777 websites using the searched image.
    Sample search results
     

NOTE: In order to know or get the URL of the image for URL-based image search, you just need to go to the website where the page is shown. Right click on the image, then click on "Copy Image Location" or "Copy Image URL".