Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TinEye Image Comparison Search

TinEye is an impressively fast, and well-working image comparison search engine – you provide either an image URL or an image on your hard disk, and then they will show similar images. While they don’t yet have enough images indexed to show a lot of results – and often, there won’t be any result at all even when you know the image exists online – this is still a very interesting engine, and already useful for certain types research. (It’s also the kind of product where you wonder, “Why doesn’t Google release this?”)

Searching for the Google logo...

I’ve asked Idée Inc, the company behind this, what people might want to use their search for, and here’s what they say:

• Research: searching for an image that you don’t know the origin of, or have limited information about. Being able to review pages where an image appears often yields information about the image. (...)

• Education: searching for high resolution images to illustrate an essay when all you have is a low resolution image

• Vanity searches: tracking where your images are appearing online

• Professional photographers and illustrators: finding out where their images are appearing online not for copyright infringement but to find how their images are being used. As you probably know, photographers very rarely get tearsheets that show them how their images ended up being used and where

• Copyright infringement monitoring: this is straight forward, where are my images, and are they being used in compliance with their license terms

• Product searches: I have a photograph of a product and I need to find out more about it (we have indexed all of Amazon’s CD and book covers and we are in the process of indexing the entire set of Amazon product images)

• Brand monitoring: finding out where your brand images are online and how used they are

• Mobile applications that we will release in fall but are not currently prepared to discuss.

Idée Inc say they basically see their engine as answering the “where” and “how” of image search – where is a particular image appearing, and how is it being used.

The TinEye creators also write that they currently crawl up to 200 million images per month. At the core of their site is a so-called image fingerprinting algorithm. It works not only with identical images, but also pics that contain just a part of another image. TinEye thinks their technology is “a major breakthrough and also quite secret. We believe we are the only firm able to do this at the scale that we do.” TinEye expect to go open for everyone in the third quarter this year; right now, you can request an invite at their site.

[Via Google OS.]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!