Searching for Your Images with TinEye

Posting original images on a web page is a great way to get your work seen.  It’s also a great way to feed the image needs of others.  Have you ever wandered through a website only to find an image that belonged to you?  Maybe not, but with tools like Google image search, it’s not very hard to find an image that you want and pluck it from the net, no matter how unscrupulous it might seem.  So how do you go about looking for your own images across something as huge as the Internet?  A company called Idée has a tool that might just make it easier and they call it TinEye.  TinEye is a type of image recognition search engine that will allow you to identify a photograph and then search across the net to find any image that matches.  The search will first find exact matches and then move on to images that are close in profile but might have some slight alterations.

Currently TinEye is in a limited release beta.  The secret to the software is how it goes about finding your images.  TinEye instantly analyzes your query image to create a compact digital signature or ‘fingerprint’ for it. TinEye searches for your image on the web by comparing its fingerprint to the fingerprint of every single other image in the TinEye search index.  To search, you can simply upload an image URL or use the new right-click plug-in for Firefox and IE7.  All you have to do is right-click on an image and tell TinEye to search for it. It’s just that simple.

Here is a search sample from one of my images

And the results

Currently the database of images is fairly small at slightly under 500,000,000 images.  This number will continue to rise as the TinEye image crawlers find their way across the Internet.  I have done some searching of my own images but have yet to find any using TinEye.  So does this mean that no one has snagged any of my images for use own their own pages?  I hope so, at least not without permission.  But chances are that the database needs to grow a bit more before it really starts being an effective tool for tracking use of my images.  Either way, I find this to be a fantastic way of keeping an eye on my property and look forward to further testing and an expanded database.  If you would like to request beta access, head on over to the TinEye site and click on the request invitation link.

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