TinEye.com – search for image copies and derivatives

tineye_icon I had this one bookmarked since my playing with Google Similar Images Search. Waited for occasion to post about it, but none came. So here is post without occasion.

TinEye is image search engine that takes image and looks for its online copies and derivatives.

What it does

TinEye takes uploaded image, or link to one online, as input and searches index for other images (parts of images) that have similar fingerprint, as they call it. It doesn’t work well with small or overly simple images, there has to be enough details to process.


Their index currently holds over billion images. May not be considerable chunk of Internet but still lots and lots of pictures.

Strong features

  • very precise matches;
  • quick comparison between query and found matches;
  • sort by dimensions makes easy to look for same image in better quality;
  • bookmarklet and browser plugins.


While TinEye site itself may seem like one of those online toys without much practical purpose, in reality technology that powers it goes beyond search fun.

Developers also offer complex commercial products and labs site with with some really cool demos (check out multicolor search, it is completely awesome).

TinEye itself seems to be work in progress with gradual addition of features and upcoming API.


Service is quite unique in what it offers. I might not need something like this often, but this is seriously cool tech and I look forward to future improvements and products.

Link http://tineye.com/

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  • Noah #

    I would like to know who had enough time to develop that for free use by people; it's quite a achievement. I mean, I'm building a system with my cousin, but that's not going to be free, and it's taking a while to make. But for sure not in our free time xD
  • Rarst #

    @Noah Well, as post mentions this seems to be simple spin off by company that has solid commercial projects. :) Free and awesome tools are really nice way to get your services out.
  • Robert Palmar #

    Neat niche search. This will save time when such searches are ever done. Bookmarklet is handy too. Great find.
  • Lyndi #

    This is amazing. I had no idea that something like this was even possible. I would assume the app will keep adding to its database, in other words if it finds no matches to a picture it will add that picture to its database. I can just see all those guys who sell photos on the Net doing thousands of these searches.
  • Rarst #

    @Robert More of stash than find. :) I need to push on processing my bookmarks for blog posts a bit. @Lyndi Nope, query images are not added to database for privacy reason. Only crawled stuff gets in there, but you can submit sites to crawl. Their commercial products seem to be aimed exactly at clients like photographers, stock photo sites, etc.
  • The DataRat #

    This would to reproduce Google Lab's "Similar Images". For a take on that... http://www.betanews.com/article/How-useful-is-Googles-Similar-Images/1256943128 The DataRat .
  • Rarst #

    @DataRat Well, I did poke Similar Images. Google's database is more massive but TinEye is MUCH more precise. Google serves matches that are roughly similar in colors and shapes, TinEye snipers images that contain exactly same elements.
  • Gazopa – search for images by similarity or keywords | Rarst.net #

    [...] you have one tool that does fine job it is hard to choose right moment to try out alternatives. TinEye worked fine for me, so pitch  from Hideki Kobayashi (project leader) about GazoPa gathered dust [...]