Ever stumbled upon a really awesome picture of a new car or bike you’re unaware of and desired to read more about it? Or found an interesting picture and wanted to uncover more information on the same? Well, in such times, reverse image search engines can help you out. Reverse image search engines are special kind of search engines which let you search using pictures instead of words. When you input an image, the search engine finds similar images along with more information on the picture. The sad thing is that many people are still unaware of these services. Because, if you understand when and how to use them, reverse photo search engines can be incredibly powerful. In this article, we are going to list out the best reverse image search engines and their usage.
Note: Reverse Image Search engines are not meant for finding people. If you want to find long lost friends or anyone else for that matter, you will be better served by people search engines which are specifically made for that purpose.
Best Reverse Image Search Engines of 2020
1. Google Images
Google images is a widely used website to search for images. In June 2011, Google Images introduced a new reverse image search feature. You perform reverse photo search by either uploading an image from your computer or pasting the link of the image in the search bar itself. It works equally well both ways. Or you can simply drag and drop the image in search bar. Google images then uses algorithms based on various attributes like shape, size, color and resolution to get the similar pictures.
Google Images is completely free to use, there is no limit on file size or file type, and it has the largest number of images indexed. So, the possibility of finding a match is extremely high. Google images’ mobile site doesn’t let you perform reverse image search as there’s no option to upload or provide a link to an image. All you can do is search an image with the help of text. You can request a desktop site on your smartphone and proceed that way, but that’s a bit cumbersome.
My favorite way to use Google reverse image search engine on mobile is by using a third-party service called Labnol (visit website), which is a free website that uses the same Google Images reverse search engine but also works on mobile browsers. It is certainly something you should check out if you want to be able to use Google reverse image search on your mobile device.
Pro Tip: If you are using Google Chrome than you don’t even need to visit Google images’ site. All you have to do is right click on the image you want to search for, and then click ‘search Google for this image’.
TinEye is a product of Idee Inc., a Toronto based company. It has been the most popular and widely used reverse search engine till date with 13.9 billion images indexed. TinEye, as per their claims is the first website ever to use the image identification technology. To use this service, you have to upload the desired image or provide its link and command the tool to hunt for similar pictures. TinEye supports JPEG, PNG, and GIF images, and the upload size is limited to 20 MB. TinEye doesn’t recognize the persons or objects in the picture, but it recognizes the entire picture as a whole. It can also be used to track down illegal use of copyrighted images. Thus, it becomes a very useful search engine. Plus, it has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari which is great if you are regular user of such services.
TineEye’s free version allows up to 150 searches a week. If you wish to exceed search limit and want to experience advanced features of TinEye, you’ll have to opt for its paid version starting at $200 for 5000 image searches over a period of two years. Apart from that, TinEye Lab features a Multicolor Engine that extracts color from 20 million royalty free creative commons images from Flickr, which makes these images searchable by color. I tried Multicolor engine myself and it works like a charm. It’s indeed a step ahead in the technological accomplishment. You can check it out for yourself, here.
Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine also has a reverse photo search tool of its own. Yandex images lets you input the image via URL or by uploading directly from the computer. You can also filter search results by file size (Large, Medium, Small).
The company developed this search engine to track duplicate images. It’s a hassle free reverse image search engine without the need of signing up. I is also totally free and works smoothly. If you are using Yandex browser, you can easily run the search for any image on almost any website by right clicking on it and then hitting ‘search for this image on Yandex’.
4. Bing Image Match
In March 2014, Microsoft’s very own search engine Bing came up with its very own reverse photo search tool dubbed ‘Bing Image Match‘. The user can either upload the image or add it using the hyperlink and Bing will return the matching search results. It’s as simple as any of its rival search engines. However, the search results weren’t as satisfying as Google Images or TinEye.
Back in 2016, Bing also brought its reverse image search capability in its iOS app. All you have to do is take a photo using the Bing app and it finds the similar images. Simple as that! One thing that limits this app is its non-availability in many countries.
5. Image Identify
The Wolfram Language Image Identification Project or Image Identify, is a WIP reverse image search engine that is capable of delivering information about images that you search for on the platform. All you need to do is drag and drop an image onto the webpage and the service will try to identify what the image is.
Since it’s currently under development, it isn’t as accurate as some of the options listed above, but it works remarkably well with images of popular landmarks, famous people, animals, plants etc. Image Identify is certainly one of the best example of Artificial Intelligence put to use. I love the fact that it instantly provides you with information about the image that you are searching. Overall, a great reverse search engine for people who want to find quick information about the subject of a picture.
6. Pinterest Visual Search Tool
Pinterest visual search tool is by far the one of the most advanced reverse image technologies ever developed. Announced in November 2015, the feature lets you search for visually similar images (as pins). Unlike other reverse image lookup tools where you had no choice but to search for the whole image, here you can zoom within a particular image and drag the zoom tool over the specific part in the Pin and search for it. You’ll see visually similar search results to the focused part only, almost instantly.
If you are an avid Pinterest user, this feature might come in handy for you in situations where you come across something interesting on Pinterest, but don’t really know what it’s called. You can simply run a search using the visual search tool, and find out more about it. The feature works on the web version as well as on Android and iOS apps.
Note: For you to run a reverse image search on Pinterest, first you’ll have to create an account on it and then Pin the image from your account. Once it’s done, you can use the visual search tool to find similar images from Pinterest’s database.
7. Karma Decay
Karma Decay is a reverse photograph search engine exclusively for Reddit. It’s a very handy tool to save yourself from re-posting the same content again on Reddit because Redditors do not like re-posts at all. Though, it searches for the image in all popular subreddits you can limit the search to a particular subreddit if that’s what you require. A simple and useful tool exclusively for Redditors.
IQDB is another great reverse image search engine which will allow you to get information about any image that you found online. In order to search for an image on IQDB, you’ll need to upload the image file or paste the image URL on the website, and then choose from a list of platforms on which you want to search for that image.
The service works reasonably well, but it focuses primarily on images from anime, which means that it has a very niche clientele. On top of that, the platform only accepts images up to 8MB in size with a maximum dimension of 7500×7500, and JPEG, PNG or GIF file formats. It is not as universal as some of the other reverse image search engines on the list but it is really good at what it does.
Reverse Image Search On Your Smartphone
Apart from using Labonl to search for images on your phone, you can also use other methods to do a reverse image search on phone. We have already published a detailed article on the topic which you can read by clicking on the above link. However, we would be amiss if we didn’t mention some of those methods here.
Reverse Image Search on Android
- Google Lens
If you’re using a relatively new smartphone that comes with support for Google Lens, then the app is another great way you can utilize Google’s immense image database and look up things on the internet by just clicking a picture of them. The service works surprisingly well and even has a bunch of cool features that further improve the overall experience.
For example, with Google Lens you can conduct an image search for a product and along with giving you information about the product, Google Lens will also provide you with useful buying links for the same. With Google Lens, you can search for text, similar products, identify plants and animals, discover books and media, and scan codes just by pointing your camera at the object. The only downside to Google Lens is that it isn’t available for all smartphones and sometimes the search results aren’t as accurate as you’d expect them to be.
Download Google Lens (Free)
Reverse Image Search on iPhone
- Reverse Image Search App
While you can make use of Google Lens on iOS through the Google Photos app (free) for most of your reverse image search needs, if you’re looking for a standalone app that can get the job done on your iPhone then you can try out the Reverse Image Search App.
The Reverse Image Search App on iOS is a handy alternative to Google Lens. The app uses Google Image Search, Bing Image Search and Yandex Images Search to deliver appropriate results for whatever images you search for using the app. Since the app makes use of the three services, its results are far more accurate when compared to other platforms that just make use of a single service. However, in order to use the app you’ll need to have the image stored on your device.
Download Reverse Image Search App: (Free, in-app purhcases)
Add-ons / Extensions for Prominent Browsers
- Google Reverse Image Search (Firefox)
It allows you to search relative images from the large database of Google Images. It’s quite useful as an add-on as it saves your significant amount of time.
- Who stole my pictures? (Firefox)
This Firefox Add-on lets you search for an image on a variety of reverse image search engines, which includes Yandex, Tineye, Google Images and VK.com. All you have to do is to right click on any picture and you can run a query for it on the search engine of your choice.
- Search by Image (Chrome)
Search by Image is a very simple tool. All you’ve to do is right click on the image, then the tool gathers all its information from the source and allows you to search similar images or provides you same image in higher resolution.
- TinEye Reverse Image Search (Plugin)
TinEye plugin comes with a context menu item that allows you to search for an image, provides its source, its type of uses, modified versions and higher resolution versions. It is available for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.
Prominent uses of Reverse Image Search
Now that you know which reverse image search engines you should use in 2020, we would like to talk about some of the scenarios you can use these apps on. Here are the most prominent use case of reverse image search engines.
Find Similar Images
Very frequently you are in need to find similar images of a picture but you’ve no idea what to enter as a search query. Or even after doing so, the search engine sometimes shows irrelevant results. In these scenarios, reverse image search engines can prove to be of great help. For instance, a blogger or a social media manager, who is in need of a similar image can use this service to get best results. You can apply the desired filters and get more precise results. Sometimes you can also find the high resolution versions of the same picture you entered as a search query.
Know Unknown Things
There are instances where you want to know more about the things you only have pictures of. For example, let’s say you like a particular gadget and you’ve no information about it. Then, you can use reverse image search to solve your query. All you’ve to do is snap the pic of that gadget and carry out a search. You’ll get variety of similar images and the web pages that link to them. You can head over there to check out more information of that gadget. Similarly, if you like the shirt, one of your friend is wearing and you wish to have one for yourself, then you can carry out a similar image search.
False Rumor Alert
One of the several things that malign social media is that it is used to spread false rumors and baseless information. Many such cases happen every day that spread discontent among the people as a result. But, if you want to be bit careful, reverse image search engines can help you. So next time you find a dubious image with a surprising caption, do carry out a reality check by doing a reverse image search. This way, you can stop all the wrong content from getting viral. You can also use this service to find out if the particular social media profile is fake or a genuine one. Also, these tool comes in handy in situations where we need to verify a news, or for exposing craigslist scams.
Gaining insights of your work
The service can also be helpful in providing insights of your work. Suppose, you’re a professional photographer with a good presence on social media and you upload your photos on regular basis. Then you can use this service to check out if your content is being plagiarized or used without your consent. The search result will redirect you to all the websites that have uploaded your images.
Alternatively, if you’re a technical person and you upload several info-graphics as a part of your work, you can use this service to track down illegal uses of your images. You can easily find out if your images are being used without crediting you or giving the backlinks and thus take necessary action against these activities.
Use Reverse Image Search to Its Potential
So, this was our list of some of the best reverse image search services and their prominent uses. Do check them out and let us know which is your favorite ones among them all. On the other hand, if we missed any good reverse image search engine, drop its name in the comments section below. Also, let us know if you find this technology useful or not? We love listening from our readers and your comments are always appreciated.