Everyone knows what Google is and what it does. You type in your search words and Google returns loads of webpages related to that search term. Search engines have come a long way in the last few decades and use extremely complex coding to make sure you get the most relevant results possible.
But did you know that you can search for images as well as words? Instead of typing in words in the search engine box, you select a photo from your computer and – much in the same way as traditional word Internet searches – the search engine finds and returns results where it finds that image, or images that look extremely similar (for example the same image but cropped or resized.)
You can then browse other webpages that contain that image you looked for, discovering where else on the Internet it is located at various points in time. It’s called a reverse image search.
Why are reverse image searches useful?
Reverse image searches are really useful if you want to try and find where an image came from, or how long it has been around on the Internet. This makes these types of searches very useful for the online debunking community where images are often taken out of context, and given false captions that put them in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Reverse image searches can demonstrate that an image has been on the Internet for a longer period of time than originally claimed. They can often help someone trace when and where a particular photo first went online.
There are many instances when it may be useful to know where and when an image came from. While reverse image searches may not always be able to trace an image to its original source, they can often tell you much more about the image that you originally knew.
How do I do a reverse image search?
It’s really easy. You just to go a reverse image website and upload the photo using the interface provided by the website and click Search! The website does the rest of the work for you and serves up the results.
Tip: You aren’t just restricted to searching for photos on your computer. You can also search for images you found on the Internet. For example, on Google, go to Images at the top and select the desired photo and select Search by image.