Searching for Images Has Never Been Easier
If you loved research back in College, you must have come across Google Scholar – a version of Google laying emphasis on research papers. Today, we have another Google variant, Google Images – a tool by Google that we people use to reverse search images.
You want to share a funny meme that you saw today but can’t remember which site it was on. Type into Google what text you can remember and it will do its magic…on a PC.
Mobile is a little different, though. Performing a reverse image search on mobile devices is limited, as stated in this post:
First, you cannot do a traditional reverse-image search with the standard Google app or via images.google.com on mobile browsers like Safari or Chrome. The camera icon won’t show up in the search bar (pictured), so there is no way to upload an image for a reverse search on mobile.
But the Chrome browser app for iOS and Android does support a reverse-image search workaround. When you have the image you want to search, hold your finger on it until a pop-up menu appears; pick “Search Google For This Image” at the bottom. Note: This will NOT work in the Google app or other browsers (not even in Safari).
If for some reason this doesn’t work, you can also select Open Image. Then copy the URL, go back to images.google.com, and paste in the URL—but that’s adding extra steps.
With either method, the results of a reverse-image search then appear, with lots of options to narrow your query, such as finding animated GIFs, clip-art equivalents, or looking by the color scheme used in the original image.
See more here: How To Do A Reverse Image Search From Your Phone
Image Recognition Software
Google is making commendable efforts towards intelligent image recognition with Google’s cloud platform. Using Cloud Vision API, developers can classify images into categories which be used to find where a given image originated from, allowing metadata to be built, and analyzing and integrating images.
Another option for image recognition and the non-developer community is the app called Goggle. It was released in December of 2009 as a way to identify images without needing a text-based search.
Ironically, it was removed from the Android operating system in 2014 because of a lack of use, but at Google I/O 2017, Google Lens was announced that has similar functions as Goggles, but instead it using Google Assistant.
Apparently, Goggle is still in use, as seen in the demonstration with this video published in February of 2017:
How to Use Google Images For Any Browser
1. Head over to images.google.com using your favorite browser.
2. Click the grey camera icon to the left of the search text box.
3. You can either upload a local image or link to it. (On a computer, try the drag and drop feature, you will love it)
4. You will be directed to the normal Google search result page.
5. Click/tap the images tab. Right-click/hold the thumbnail to view a higher resolution version of the image. You can then save it at this stage.
Even easier, using Google Chrome browser:
1. Find an image you’d like to reverse search on any website.
2. Right-click / Hold the image. Choose “search Google for this image”
In mid-February, there were some changes with Google Images. The View Image button was removed, mostly to make it harder to steal images. With View Image, it opened up the photo in a window by itself.
This update frustrated users but I’m sure those in the photography/graphics industry rejoiced.
You can still download an image but first, you have to go to the Visit button, which takes you to their website. Not only does it appear to be an effort to stop people from “borrowing” photos, but it also drives traffic to the website where the image is found, giving the owner a chance to show ads or entice a purchase.
Helpful Addition to Image Search
With this, Google made searching for related images easier by adding tags to the image that include where it is published and the title of the picture. The following post discusses this feature further:
Google Images is the incredibly useful tab on Google searches that lets you look through images relating to your search term. Last year Google improved Images by adding badges to each result that highlighted the type of content the images were from. If the image comes from a recipe it now has the word recipe written on it so that you know that clicking on it will take you to the recipe of whatever it is that you’re looking at. Google is now looking to extend this functionality even further, adding more information to the tag that shows up with image results. Google is starting to add captions to Google Image results.
That captions that Google is adding will offer users a little more context about the images that they’re looking at. Captions will include the title and where the image is published.
Read more here: Google Images Is Even Now More Useful
However, I find this procedure taking considerable time as I have to open a browser each time I need to perform an image search. There are a few good apps that let you take pictures and search through them. I personally prefer Veracity. Let’s say you’re interested in a given art piece at the museum. Upload a photo to Veracity and it will display links to web pages containing that art piece. You can then learn more about that item. There are many other similar apps offering the same functionality.