While you may have searched the web for the best meatloaf recipes or how to make playdough or a million other reasons, did you know you can search the web with an image instead of just words? Maybe you have a photo of a familiar building but not sure where it’s from. Or you want to see what other websites are using your client’s photo, with or without permission.
Google Images allows you to explore the web in an entirely new way by using Google to not only search for images, but to search with images. You may upload your own image (whether it be a photo, drawing, symbol, or anything in the acceptable format) or you may simply enter the URL address of the image to be searched.
When you search using an image, your search results may include:
- Similar images
- Sites that include the visual
- Other sizes of the photo you have searched for
Search using an image works best when the visual is likely to show up in other places on the web. For instance, you will get more results for a famous landmark than you might for a photo of your childhood home.
From Your PC
When you need to search using an image on your PC, go to Google Images in a browser and click the camera icon which is usually on the right-hand side of the search box. You can then choose to paste an image URL in the search bar, or select the other tab to upload a file from your computer for searching.
If you come across a photo on the web which you would like to search, you may right-click the image to select the “Copy Image URL” option for pasting into Google Images search. This saves you the trouble of downloading the photo, then uploading the photo to the search.
You also may drag and drop an image from the web or your computer into the search box at Google Images to quickly upload a photo to use for a search.
From Your Phone
The easiest way to search Google Images using your phone or tablet is to use the Chrome app (available on Android and iOS for iPhone and iPad). In the Chrome app, tap the image on a website you want to search to view its larger version. Then, press and hold that larger visual to activate your options. Select Search Google For This Image.
However, if you want to upload an image from your phone for searching, it currently gets a little tricky. The best advice I can give is to use a third-party website on your phone that enables the upload (no endorsement; no consideration).
REVIEW: Four Ways To Search By Image
- Copy and paste the URL for the image into Google Images search.
- Click the camera icon to upload the image into Google Images search.
- Drag and drop the image from the web or your computer into the search box on Google Images search.
- Right-click an image on the web for a direct search using a browser extension.
The Case Of Ringing The Bell
An Indiana attorney and photographer put Google Images to use, resulting in his finding about 300 different websites using his photo of the Indianapolis skyline he took in 2000 without his permission. He had registered the photo copyright in August 2011. Bell asked users of this photo to remove it or pay him for its use. According to a recent Seventh Circuit opinion regarding one of his lawsuits (Bell v. Taylor (7th Cir., 2016)), Bell sued defendants alleging federal copyright infringement and state law claims for conversion, misrepresentation, and unfair competition.
In the case at hand, Bell alleged Defendant Cameron Taylor, operator of a computer business, used Bell’s photo without permission on his website. However, in this lawsuit, Bell later realized that Taylor never downloaded or displayed the daytime skyline photo specified in the complaint; rather, Taylor’s website displayed a different photo that Bell owned—one depicting Indianapolis’s skyline at night. After granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, Bell sought to amend his complaint (for a fourth time) past the deadline to do so. He appealed to the Seventh Circuit after the district court denied his motion, citing undue delay and Bell’s carelessness.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court’s decision. Along with other issues of unproven damages regarding other co-defendants, the Court let the district court’s decision stand. Nevertheless, it all began with the plaintiff using Google Images to see where his photos were appearing around the internet, with or without his permission.