Over the past two years, mobile searches for “image search” have grown by over 60% according to Google.
That is because image search allows users to visualize any given keyword from thousands of images from around the internet.
Image search is the answer.
Reverse image search allows you to do work backwards and gain new insights from the image itself. I will detail how reverse image search works across multiple platforms so you will be well prepared to harness this technology going forward.
What Is a Reverse Image Search?
This technology enables you to Google the origins of any photograph, artwork, graph, or photo. By reverse image searching, you can find the image on all the pages on which it was featured - even if the image is a different aspect ratio or file size.
You can also find links to image search results of similar images. In addition, image search offers your query possible related searches.
You can start a reverse search image on your phone or desktop through Google, Bing, or any similar tool. I will walk you through the exact steps now.
How to Reverse Image Search on Desktop
You have a few options for image search depending on your preferences, operating system, and device.
Reverse Image Search With a Desktop Browser
To perform this version of an image search, follow these steps:
- Start by going to images.google.com.
- Next, click on the camera icon which will allow you to choose from two options.
- First, you can paste the URL of an image from another page.
- The second option is to upload the image itself.
3. Then, simply click ‘enter’ on your keyword or the ‘search by image’ button to get results.
Reverse Image Search with Google Chrome Desktop Browser
If you are already using Google Chrome, then you can shortcut the process significantly. When stumbling upon an image on any page online on Chrome, you can carry out a reverse image search by following these steps:
- Right-click on the image you would like to find out more about.
- Choose ‘Search Google for Image’ from the drop-down menu.
This straightforward method will display your search results instantly.
Image search is very powerful. Here is one example. I recently saw this photo and was intrigued. I wanted to learn more.
So I uploaded it to Google and was told that the photo featured Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, a Thai nurse, army officer, and member of the Thai royal court.
Without image search I never could have found that information out.
Reverse Image Search Using Microsoft Bing
Since Bing has over 10% market share worldwide, it is safe to say there is a whole audience of builders and developers using it. So I wanted to include steps for this search engine too.
Bing’s visual search is slightly different from Google’s. This is because it detects shopping intents, for example, and provides search results that contain other similar products with their pricing information.
Here is how to conduct a reverse image search on Microsoft Bing:
- Open Microsoft Bing through a browser or the application.
2. Click the camera-shaped icon in the search bar.
3. The pop-up menu will give you four options to search with a picture instead of text. Let’s explore the options:
- First, drag one or more images to the search box from your computer.
- Second, browse your computer for the image you would like to search for.
- You can also paste the URL of the image from an online page that you were previously browsing.
- The final option is to take a photo and search for more information on it. Whether it is a product or a location, you can find out more.
Finally, browse the visual search results at your leisure.
How to Reverse Image Search on Your Phone
It can be slightly more challenging to do a reverse image search on your phone. You have multiple options, but they require a few more steps. Let’s walk through them together.
Reverse Image Search Using the Google Chrome App
Unfortunately, the Google Chrome application itself does not support reverse image search on Mobile. But you can still do it through a smart workaround, which I will share with you. Here is how to do it:
- Open Google Chrome and type in ‘images.google.com’.
- Tap the three-dots menu on the top right of your screen.
- Pick ‘Desktop Site’ from the drop-down menu.
- Click on the camera-shaped button in the search bar and insert your image in either method that suits you.
Reverse Image Search Using Any Browser App
Have you found an image that you would like to know more about on the spot while you were browsing? How do you reverse image search that exact photo? Here are the steps:
- Keep a long press on the image you would like to search.
2. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Search Google for this image’.
There is nothing left to do but browse the search results for more information.
Reverse Image Search Using the Google Lens App
Google Lens is an application that allows users to search by image in multiple ways. From scanning and translating texts to searching for fashion items in different online stores, this application fulfills any search by image scenario you can think of.
Let’s see how it works:
- Download and launch the Google Lens application.
- Choose the action you need for the image you will be searching for. Here are your options:
- Translate: this feature allows you to translate any text on any image immediately through auto-detect. You can choose the language the text is in or the language you would like it to translate to.
- Text: this instant copier can copy any text on your image for you to paste anywhere you would like.
- Search: this button pretty much does the standard Google image search on whatever item or photo you are looking for.
- Shopping: this allows you to know more about a certain product in the image or even through its barcode.
- Dining: this fun feature lets you find out more about a dish or translate a restaurant’s menu.
You will have two options for uploading the image:
- Take a photo of something in front of you that you would like to search for on the spot.
- Or upload a photo from your phone that includes what you would like to know more about.
Reverse Image Search Using Pinterest Lens
Pinterest is one of the most popular applications in the world. Its search by image feature under the name ‘Pinterest Lens’ has revolutionized the digital shopping world.
By following these steps, you can find, save, or shop for any item in an image you love:
- Launch the Pinterest app on your phone.
- Click on the search button in the menu at the bottom of your screen.
3. Tap the camera-shaped button in the search bar at the top of the screen.
4. You will have two options to pick your image:
- Take a photo with your mobile’s camera and begin your search.
- Or upload an image from your gallery.
Bringing It All Together
This article has covered some fun, easy, and powerful tips for perfecting a reverse image search on your phone or desktop.
Reverse image search is enriching for learning, exploration, and the curious builder.
Not only do consumers benefit from this technology, but companies do too as they build out and scale their products. If you think reverse image search is just for fun and consumers, let me help you see the commercial potential.
Smarts.co, for example, curates content for articles using reverse image search.
Customer service software is increasingly using reverse image search to help agents resolve customer support tickets. The same is true for technology agencies as they look for products to purchase to help their clients.
A friend of mine built a company that made visual recognition software for maintenance and repair supplies. How did that company end up? Well, it was acquired by Google.