27 July, 2009

TinEye: the perfect image search engine

TinEye is amazing. It is an image search engine that uses such an advanced technology, that when given an image, rather than a key word, to search for, it tells you where and how that image has been used; even if the image has been modified! It conducts a pixel by pixel search across the internet, flagging up all instances of that image even if it's been cropped, merged or digitally altered in some way.

Every day TinEye's spiders crawl the web for additional images. Using sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms, TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature or 'fingerprint' for each one and adds it to the index.

When you want to find out where an image is being used on the web, you submit it to TinEye. The attributes of the image are analyzed instantly, and its fingerprint is compared to the fingerprint of every single image in the TinEye search index. The result? A detailed list of any websites using that image, worldwide. Idee Inc.

Maybe some one, some where is ripping your photos, claiming that it is his or hers; and maybe even making money out of them. You can find out if that is so: submit your photo to TinEye and it will scan the Web, and if your photo is being used some where else - like the way the BBC did with someone's photo from Flickr, without his consent or knowledge - you can take action if you decide so. Sometimes, TinEye fails to detect the image and you get this message from them: Our search index is still very small—just a fraction of all the images on the web! But our index is always growing, so be sure to search for this image again later. Still, it's an excellent and very useful tool.