Image search is perfect for the new digital age. It involves picking an image and using an alternative search engine to find the same picture on other websites. It’s something I use practically every day, and I’m confident that a lot more people would do it if they knew what’s missing from their lives and how it can improve their online business.
Tools that allow you to run a reverse photo search are available for free and are extremely easy to use, thanks to multiple websites providing it as well as Google Image Search. It also offers browser extensions, so all you have to do is right-click any online photo and choose image search option from the drop-down menu.
So how can picture search help grow your business? Reasons vary, but usually, sometimes it’s to authenticate a photo online, by finding the source or track its users across the web.
If you’re a website owner, or publish brochures or press releases, or post copyright images online, it is safe to say that you can assume that your pictures are going to be re-used. The purpose of reverse photo search is to tell you where and when. After that, you can decide whether re-using your image is legal and appropriate, and whether or not to take action against the person.
Searching for publicity and advertising images will bring to light how much engagement your blog post or press release has received, and you may also find coverage that traditional text searches might have missed – perhaps in foreign languages.
You may also find your images shared in contexts you’re not thrilled about, such as creating stories about an opposing company’s products. If such an incident occurs, you can make sure they are captioned correctly and credited back to you. Always remember that you can’t whine about photos that you don’t actually own.
Sometimes you might come across websites using your bandwidth by linking to the picture on your site rather than theirs. In such cases, I’ve seen people replace the original image with a less suitable one that has the same filename.
When you see a photo in your inbox or on the website, you don’t really know its age, or where it came from. An image finder helps you figure all that out.
For example, suppose you are thinking about posting an image online or in print. Are you 100% sure the supplier is the real owner? Is the picture genuine or has it been altered in some way? How old is the image? How often has it been used before on other websites? It’s also crucial to find out what the real worth of the picture is.
There are many thousands of proven cases where searching by image would have, or has, avoided significant mishaps. Sometimes a picture claims to show a specific event, but it was actually taken earlier (or later), at a different event.
This is quite common than you’d think, especially with tweeted photos and even with news stories shared across the web. It might be a mistake made by the picture agency, or it could be an attempt at deception.
To help safeguard my business, I also reverse image search profile pictures on social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s naive to assume people are who they say they are. What might appear to be an attractive young girl making friends with co-workers on LinkedIn might be a hacker fishing for vital information. I also reverse search photos of people who I am thinking of hiring or partnering with because it gives me an idea of their capabilities and background.
Surprisingly, I find some contacts have stolen their profile picture from another Photobucket or Facebook user, or I see the same image is being used for advertising escort services. Scammers frequently use photos of long-forgotten movie actors and writers as well.
Image search engine also allows you to search for people who are using your images without your consent. If you come across your work, you can always ask the person to remove it or to give you credit and create backlink to your website or profile. It’s a win, win situation.