A great result from TinEye reverse image search today, a recommendation to anyone who may have images online that they want to try and keep track of, especially if they are not watermarked.

A little about TinEye:TinEye is a reverse image search engine. TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It finds out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.

I have spent a fair amount of time on TinEye in the last couple of years, I was one of the early users of this software back when it was only just out of it’s beta stage, and loved the idea. It its early stages, it struggled finding images, as it still hadn’t indexed some of the bigger search engines and image libraries, and I seem to remember telling them about loads of image libraries that hadn’t yet been indexed. A couple of years on and they are really starting to get involved, it seems the search engine has now indexed over a billion images, a fair feat for a company that is still running on donations only.

So I randomly did a check on a couple of images on one of my blog posts, I chose my blog post with an image of some french shutters (Image 3)- I chose this one because looking at Google Analytics the night before I was getting search traffic for ‘french shutter photos’ and as I remembered that this image for some reason had slipped through my watermarking process.. and may be a easy target. I loaded up TinEye and pasted the URL of the actual image on my website, clicked the search button and let it chug away for literally only a couple of seconds.. and it returned an interesting result. (Image 1)

Tineye found a reference to one of my images, and showed that it had searched 1.6 billion images, and had picked up a usage of my image on quite a large blogging website, so I checked the URL provided by TinEye and had a scout around the site until I found it. Nothing sinister about the usage, they were just talking about choosing the right image to represent your blog post, but even so – they didn’t ask for permission to use this image, so I was justified in contacting them. Due to the positive nature of the image within this blog post, I spoke to the lady in charge of the website who apologised for the error, and I agreed that she could continue using the image as long as she linked to my website from the image. She changed it straight away, what an excellent result.

So thanks TinEye, a great outcome, and I suggest that you should do the same with your images. It’s a long process, but perhaps a random check now and again doesn’t hurt.. you never know, you might just find one..

For more information have a look at TinEye here.