Google loves photographers

June 16, 2011

Google has just announced a brand new feature for its image search engine. The new feature allows a user to perform a reverse image search to discover how and where their images are being used online.

There are some similar services already available (TinEye being the most notable) and while certainly useful, they don’t seem to find every instance of image use  from my personal experience.

This new functionality is gradually being rolled out and is currently available to users of the Google Chrome web browser.  When accessing Google Image Search the user will now see a camera icon and clicking on this allows the user to upload an image or provide an image URL and then search for the locations where that image is being used online, as well as for similar images. This is incredibly useful and easy to use from a photographer’s perspective and I think it has some really interesting potential.

Google Image Search screen shot

Google Image Search screen shot

Google’s new functionality will no doubt be welcomed by photographers wishing to know if their images are being used online without permission. In fact the very first image I selected to test using this new functionality last night was being used commercially without permission and I more than likely would never have known about it.

Here is the official promotional video from Google:

I would like to see this functionality taken a step further and I think this is almost certainly going to be the case.  Imagine being able to feed Google your Flickr, 500px, PurePhoto or SmugMug streams and allowing it to automatically monitor the usage of your images, alerting you when sites using your images are discovered.

I for one can’t wait to see how this technology evolves.

Happy shooting.

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About the author

UK based photographer Mark J P.