We usually say Google Search, and this is the ability to search for a term and find results and images related to what is typed. Most of the search engines available offer this service. It is simple and straightforward.
But what if you have an image and want to know its origin? Or find similar photos? Or find out if it is related to something?
That’s a reverse image search
There has been several cases of fake news and inciting information online. These inaccurate information have caused series of violence and misinformation all over the internet.
In many situations, the misinformation is caused by false and unrelated images.
Recently, an image of floating bodies was spread all over the internet as photos from a controversial river in Anambra state of Nigeria. The particular image was from a violent situation in Myanmar.
The authenticity of this image could have been confirmed from a simple reverse image search.
How do you perform a reverse search?
First, let’s talk about what a reverse image search is.
Reverse image search is a service that allows you to make a search with an image, instead of using keywords. This can give you more information about an image, or lead to the origin of the image.
Reverse Image Search On Desktop
Running a reverse image search on desktop is pretty easy. You only need to:
- Go to images.google.com on your browser.
- Click the camera icon beside the search bar.
- Select if to use the image link (if it is an image you are viewing online), or you upload the image, if it is saved on your device.
- Explore the results of the search, and get whatever information you want.
Reverse Image Search on Mobile
The same process for searching on desktop works on mobile too. The only difference is that, when you open the browser and load images.google.com you have to switch to desktop version.
You can switch to desktop by clicking the overflow icon (3 dots in Google Chrome).
Once it’s on desktop, same process with desktop should work.
Using Google Lens on Mobile
Google Lens is usually integrated into phone camera and Google main app. It also has it’s standalone app.
Once you open the app, you could locate the image you want to search on, and get results.
Google Lens is really more about helping you perform tasks like language translation, identifying things, or to find a product. It is not really for finding an image source.
However, it could still make an attempt at finding images similar to the one you are searching on.
Bing Visual Search
Microsoft also have an awesome way of reverse searching images, but it is called Visual Search.
- Visit bing.com/images
- Click on the image symbol on the page. You can either choose to upload the image, use the image link, or take a photo with your device camera.
A pop-up will ask you to give Bing access to your camera; accept or decline with a tap.
Whichever option you choose would give you results.
Other third party Image Search providers
Services like Yandex and TinEye allows reverse image search on their platforms.
If you prefer an app, you could try apps like:
Reversee (on iOS)
CamFind (Android and iOS)
Search by Image (Android)
Reverse Image Search Extension (iOS)