Search by Image


If a question needs to be answered, a quick reflex is to type it in Google. But sometimes, words are missing to describe what we are looking for.  A perfect example of this is when something needs to be identified that has never been seen before. In these cases, you can use a photo snapped with your phone to do a search with this picture. If you know where to go, it’s a quick process. Let’s look at how to do a search by image in Google.

Do a Search Using a Picture

In Taiwan, there are many strange and exotic fruits to be discovered, such as the one below.

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What is this fruit?

What is this fruit?

In order to find out what this specific fruit is and most importantly, whether it is edible or not, the fastest way to do so is to take a photo of it and run it through a Google search by image.

Here are the steps:

1. Take a photo
2. Go to Google and click on Images in the top right corner (you can also access it directly by typing images.google.com)
3. Click on the icon of a camera in the search field
4. You can then paste the image URL if it is already on the Internet or you can upload an image from your computer
5. Click on Search by Image

The results of this search will give you a best guess at to what this image may be. This may not be enough. Thankfully, you will also be shown a list of similar images. These may include clues as to what the subject of a photo is.

With the fruit depicted above, Wikipedia comes to our rescue once again:

Search by image

Search by image

Purpose of a Reverse Image Search

Reverse image searches compare the content of a photo with similar photos on the Internet. Their results can offer many applications for your students such as:

  • Identify unknown people, objects, or places
  • Find information about people, objects or places
  • Locate the source or the creator of an image
  • Find webpages that reference to an image
  • Debunk a fake or photoshopped image
  • Search for copies of an image
  • Find better quality copies of an image

Search by Image on your Phone

You can also do a search by image directly from your phone.

If you want to know more about a photo on the Internet:

1. Launch Chrome
2. Navigate to the webpage which includes the photo
3. Tap and hold the image
4. Tap on Search Google for this Image

If you want to find out about a photo you took, unfortunately you cannot make a reverse image search on your phone the same way as you can on a computer. Thankfully a workaround is available at CTRLQ.org

1. Take the photo with your phone
2. Go to https://ctrlq.org/google/images/
3. Upload your picture
4. Search

Do Better Searches

This tip was inspired by a question Lee asked me in the faculty room about the exact fruit depicted above. Coincidentally, Nat & Lo highlighted this type of search a few days later. You can find more advice on how to search with Google in their awesome video (additionally, you should really subscribe to their YouTube channel).

Here’s another tip: type in I’m Feeling Curious in Google.
Then ask another question.
Then ask another question.
Then ask another question
Then…

I'm feeling curious

I’m feeling curious

If you have other tips for searching, let us know in the comment section below!

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