Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fun and Games with Google's Search by Image

I consider my son to be fairly internet-savvy, so when I discovered that he wasn't familiar with Google's Search by Image feature, it made me think the subject might be worthy of a post.

Let's say you've come across an image of a painting on-line, but it's not attributed to the artist, and you're curious to know more. For instance, here is Perspectives, by Jean-Paul Riopelle.


  • Drag and drop the image onto your desktop. 
  • Open your browser to
  • Drag and drop the image into the search box.
The result will be something like this:

Not only will you find multiple sources for that image, but with any luck you'll find out the name of the artist, the title, size, date and location of the painting, as well as similar paintings, some by the same artist.

This can be useful for visual artists like me, who post images of our work on-line. I can quickly determine whether my image has been pinned on a Pinterest site, or indeed if my work has been appropriated by some greeting card company.

Sometimes the results can be quite hilarious. When I noticed a lot of traffic for a blog post of four recent paintings, I did a Google Search by Image. Here is one of the paintings:

Touchstone series

Google's "best guess" for this image was "Reebok latest shoes". Thoughtfully, a link to the relevant website was included.

A second painting,

Touchstone series

yielded results that included a photo of a swan and of a snowman's face.

It was gratifying when the third of my images was recognized as a "painting", with images of other (random?) paintings offered for comparison.

How ever did we manage before Google?


Bev Longford said...

Thank you so much, I did not know how to do this either and I often am curious when I am poking around on the internet looking at images with no information attached. Bev

Dianne Robinson said...

I learn something new every day!

Anonymous said...

I've never used it! I think that Mother Google is telling you to buy shares in Reebok....