Awesome! That image rocks! Where did it come from? Can I get it a size bigger and make it my desktop wallpaper?
Such are the common questions you might ask yourself should you stumble across an awesome picture on the Internet And until now, there's been no clear way to search for an identical version of an image across the Web No, a Google search for the image's characteristics doesn't count--good luck trying to find the one shot of a red balloon you're looking for in a sea of thousands.
The Mozilla Firefox add-on TinEye Reverse Image Search uses a novel method for finding copies of said image across the Internet Whenever you submit an image to be searched, the accompanying site--tineye.com--assigns a digital fingerprint to the picture. It then looks for similar fingerprints across its archive of collected images, allowing the site (or your add-on) to pull up partial or exact matches for the image you've searched for In that sense, you're not just looking for images that are similar to your picture in terms of coloration or subject You're looking for exact copies, crops, or scaled versions of the shot.
How well does TinEye Reverse Image Search actually work in practice? As expected, you can't just click on any ol' image on the Internet and expect it to produce comparable results Trying to search for alternate versions of random Web graphics on, say, CNN.com or maximumpc.com isn't always going to produce much to look at. Remember, you're searching for duplicate images. Screenshots will certainly pull up results, as will pictures that would otherwise be the kind that are copied around the Web--like certain Flickr photographs, for example And now that I've mentioned that, you should probably know that TinEye Reverse Image Search is an excellent way to find out who's using your images around the 'net as well...
Maximum PC picks one new Firefox add-on as its favorite of the week each... week. Have a nifty extension that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.