A Reverse Image Search is a search performed by uploading an image instead of typing a keyword.
I’ve been testing these publically accessible Reverse Image Search services:
Unfortunately, there were no privacy-friendly services available.
In my tests, I found Yandex Images was the best-performing search. However, since Yandex is a Russian service, this may raise ethical and privacy concerns.
Regarding coverage, the next best Reverse Image Search was Google Images. However, Bing’s Visual Search is easy to use and has several unique features. The TinEye service is useful for finding other versions of a source image.
Yandex Images also came out on top in this in-depth test by Aric Toler. He agrees that Yandex has the best reverse image search. However, he notes that since Yandex is a Russian service, the search results often come from Eastern European sources.
Aric Toler also offers these tips on reverse image searching:
Increase the resolution of your source image, even if it just means doubling or tripling the resolution until it’s a pixelated mess. None of these search engines can do much with an image that is under 200×200.
Try cropping out elements of the image, or pixelating them if it trips up your results. Most of these search engines will focus on people and their faces like heat-seeking missiles — pixelate them to focus on the background elements.
If all else fails, get creative: mirror your image horizontally, add some color filters, or use the clone tool on your image editor to fill in elements on your image that are disrupting searches.Guide To Using Reverse Image Search For Investigations by Aric Toler.
Image Credit: emmanuelle moureaux