I was told about a neat little application last week called TinEye. With it you could upload an image and TinEye would tell you all the sites that used that particular image. I thought it could be useful for teachers to check where students got particular images for coursework – it should be possible to backtrack and find the source.

It reminded me a little of the Google Goggles app for the iPhone which would search based on a photograph. I was wondering why Google hadn’t rolled a similar feature out to their desktop search tool.

Well now it turns out they have been working on a similar idea, and this week they’ve begun to roll out a new feature for Google Image Search which lets you search from an image. Similar to the Pixolu2 tool I wrote about yesterday.

Apparently the new feature will be rolled out to users this week. You’ll know you have it when you see a camera icon on the Google Image Search page. (I now have the feature in my Firefox 4 browser and in Internet Explorer 9)

google image search

Click on the camera and it opens up to let you either enter a URL of an image or upload one of your own.

The image search tool will check for identical copies of that image, and also return similar images. Handy if you want to find lots of variations on a theme for a particular presentation or piece of work.

I uploaded a photo of a sunflower I had taken with my phone, and Google returned lots of yellow/flower pictures 🙂

It’s an interesting development, but maybe not brilliantly useful just yet. Keep an eye on it to see how it develops.