Intelligent Search Engines for Images


One of my most important experiences on the internet has been to search for images and maps on line. I had big databases and I had to tag many images from all around the world but, the problem was, that I had no information at all, that’s to say, no names, no location…etc. Therefore, what could I do if what I had were only images.


Nowadays, there are different engines that allow this kind of search. It depends on what kind of data you have. The process of search is easy and exciting.


You can use Google Image, TinEye, Retrievr, Google Map (photos), Flickr. All of these engines will help you to find what you are looking for; it is like using Google to find any information.


For me, Google Image and TinEye are very similar, because I can find the same results and with the same process. Therefore, I will explain how TinEye works. The goal is to help you find the author of an image, where it came from, where it is being used, where you can find additional images from the same author and/or any other information that might be useful; for example, to find higher resolution versions.


The offers two methods of search: by URL or by uploading an image.


To search by URL, just paste the address of the image that you are looking for, for example:  go to and paste the below URL of an image

You must have gotten the below results: 22 Results. Searched over 2.0678 billion images in 0.08 seconds.

To search by “upload” (this is, search for an image on your local hard drive), just click on the Browse button and locate the file that you are looking for. For example: I had this image on my computer but I had no information at all.

I got the below results: 1 Results. Searched over 2.0678 billion images in 1.213 seconds.

You can see the difference between the original image and the image that I found.

In this case, it turns out that  is more sophisticated because it gives me more information about this particular image. About 35 results (in 0.56 seconds)

I usually use these engines of search and I realized that is used like a database for these engines.

TinEye has a plug-in for Firefox, for Chrome and for IE. For the plugin, simply right-click on any web image (it won´t work with images on your local hard drive) and select TinEye from the context menu. You will be whisked away to the Tineye website to see your results.

TinEye can find the largest image, or the most transformed image in a set of search results, simply take advantage of the SORT option on the left of the screen.

Best Match is the default sort option and shows the images that are closest to your original image first.

Most Changed shows the images that are the most transformed from your original image first.

Biggest Image shows you, you guessed it right, the highest-resolution version of the image you searched for results first.

The Compare tool allows you to quickly switch back and forth between your result image and your original image. This animates any differences between the two images, making changes easier to see. It is especially handy if you have sorted the images by Most Changed and your image matches have been heavily edited.

If you would like to share your search results with others, you can easily do this via Twitter, Facebook, or pretty much any other social network. Just use the Share tools on the left side of the results screen.

These are fantastic and intelligent search engines for images. But I would mention a different engine for images.

Retrievr ( ) is an experimental service which lets you search and explore in a selection of Flickr images by drawing a rough sketch. Currently the index contains many of Flickr´s most interesting images.


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