Logo for image search engine TinEye © 2012 . All rights reserved.

TinEye – reversed search engine for images…

Looking through my Google Analytics account recently I noticed a referal source that I have never heard of before – TinEye.  I became curious to find out more about this potentially very beneficial  source of traffic back to my website so I decided to check it out a bit…

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In their own words TinEye is a “reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. It is free to use for non-commercial searching.

TinEye regularly crawls the web for new images, and we also accept contributions of complete online image collections. To date, TinEye has indexed 2,127,538,544 images from the web to help you find what you’re looking for. For more information, please see our FAQ, and for some real TinEye search examples, check out our Cool Searches page.”

So what does that mean for a photographer or other visual artists ?

Well, I’m a big fan of Google’s Image search but TinEye seems to return even more laser tartgeted results and it’s apparently only based on image recognition and has nothing to do with keywords, captions or anything non-image related…

Wired wrote. If Google Images is a hand grenade, TinEye is a sniper rifle

Impressive indeed !

I quickly loaded some of my images and the TinEye quickly returned results of my images appearing on various fashion blogs (as usual) In my opinion this is a new and potent tool for artists to keep an eye out for serious violations of your IP rights and by that I mean that I will accept and even encourage people to spread my images if they link back to my website and otherwise credit me and I will not lay sleep-less at night because of 13 year olds posting my images on their blogs. However, should I discover some serious and commercial use of my images that would be another story and that’s where tools like Google Image sSearch and TinEye come into the picture.

Trey Ratcliff at “Stuck in Customs” has in my view a very insightful article on why sharing Your images liberally on the web is actually more beneficial for You than keeping them behind bars and under watermarks…