Andrew Breese

Musings of a professional geek

TinEye – find where an image has been used

This is a wonderful resource that allows you to upload a snip of an image, and then see where else it is used on the internet. Its called TinEye, and its the first time I’ve heard of a reverse image search engine. Their tagline is “Reverse that image“, and it has been around for a number of years. Hiding from me.

Nicely presented, easy to use, simple results – certainly better than just Google searching.

Why? Consider this scenario:

You’re close to launch and grabbing some iStockphotos for some sort of communication or web page. Happy with the choice you get the geek types working and they create a shmick design, lovingly polished. Your design is good and on time.

This makes the client happy, and everything ticks along.

Four days later an astute anonymous email tells you that a direct competitor or suspect website has used the same image. Or worse a huge corporate giant like Apple or Microsoft is already using the image on a billboard, or the same tradeshow; you get the point. Now your hard work just looks like a ripoff; and you’re an imitator.

This has happened to me with iStockphoto, and it was an internal marketing disaster. End client didn’t really care, and it was back when the Internet was just getting groovy, so it went largely undiscovered.

I still hated the fact it happened, and really like anything that gives me some options to predict disaster before it occurs.

Now not many of the folks in the web these days will scream too much, unless they are the account rep or manager of the client/project that looks like an arse (in which case somebody is getting a talking to).

Avoid these scenarios: Include a quick check in the process for selecting stock images and you’ll be golden.


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