TinEye Image Analytics

At the TinEye headquarters we are constantly thinking about image search features for our reverse image search engine and of course how to make TinEye the best reverse image search engine in the world. We like building useful software for our fans.

So listening to you all sending in feature requests, ideas, suggestions etc. one feature constantly makes it to the top of the request list (after a larger index) and that is what our fans call an image alert. This basically would be a service that would allow TinEye users to find out of where their images are appearing on the web via an automated notification mechanism. Similar to Google Alerts but for images.

So today I would like you to tell us what comes to mind when you (our TinEye fan) think about when you think about image alerts and how would such a feature make your image searches easier.We have heard that as a professional and amateur photographer you would like to find out where your images are appearing and figure out if they are being used according to how they were licensed. But surely you would probably want to use an image alert service for more than just a copyright tracking tool! At least we think so because we believe analytics to be an incredible tool to drive your decision making (why fly blindingly to your destination, when you can get a compass to direct you?).

How we envision an image analytics service is simple (in principle): you would upload a set of images to the service and get a notification each time your image is spotted on the wild web. But as we are gathering data for this service we can’t help but think about what other features could make you love TinEye even more. We have a number of ideas but we would love to hear from you all. So drop us a line in the comments and tell us about your dream features for an image analytics service.

We are listening. And would like to engage in a conversation with you all.


BROWSE / IN Image Recognition Photography TinEye


hi tineye team,

i´m more a semi than a professional photographer, in general an alert would be useful, but i´d prefer to work with an offline/online tool like the dropbox synchronisation. so you just have to do it on your local computers and the rest is done automatically. combined with a unique alert and management frontend this would be very fine. automatic email alerts or maybe pushmessages on mobiles (app?)…

kindest regards
stefan rittmann

Stefan Oct 13 10 at 9:25 am

Stefan: thanks for your comment. Interesting approach but why a local folder? Is it the pain of uploading images to a service? or keeping track of what you uploaded or speed?

Leila Boujnane Oct 13 10 at 10:12 am

Can there be a feature which lets me search for reverse images on a particular site. For eg: I have an image with me and I know that it is from xyz.com Can there be an option, that instead of searching the entire web – it searches only on that particular website ie xyz.com

Ravi Handa Oct 13 10 at 3:09 pm

A general alert based on keywords would be very helpful.
The ability to specify alerts with in a list of domains would also be helpful.
Having the results map back to a dashboard would be quite powerful.

Rather than upload images how about providing a file containing a list of URLs of images? I can quickly copy the path/url a list of files from my web server and past it to a txt file. Having this file referenced would save me time. As is the TinEye search allows for a URL so why not this approach versus uploading files? Wouldn’t that also be an advantage for TinEye?

Jim Goldstein Oct 13 10 at 7:08 pm

yes, uploading seems to be not comfortable to me, first of all if you have to uploads tons of material. with the local folder ist only a simple drag and drop option, you don´t even have to hit a button. somebodys got an iphone @your house with dropbox installed? check how comfortable it is…instead of klicktipklicktip…

Stefan Oct 14 10 at 3:14 am

That sounds like a great idea, but you know you’re going to get people with thousands of photos in their logs. And people who don’t have the copyright uploading photos just to find out where the other photos in some porn chick’s shoot are. It sounds like a good idea, but I think implementing it is going to be tough.

tim Oct 14 10 at 10:37 am

While an alert for newly located images (where a previous search proved fruitless) would be extremely attractive, a simple variation on that theme could also be beneficial… that is to say, if the searcher manages to find an image online he/she might like to tag it for alert if say, a larger image becomes available at a future date.
The alternative requirement would obviously be set by the user.
Did I explain that adequately? :)

Rockster Oct 14 10 at 10:46 am

Hi Rockster: thanks mate! We get what you are trying to say :) Interesting idea.

Leila Boujnane Oct 14 10 at 10:49 am

I don’t know how difficult this would be to implement but please bear with me…
I use Outlook Express to gather my emails from a number of addresses and on occasion I’ve felt compelled to search for an image found there on Tineye.
I’ve always had to save the image first, then visit the Tineye site to upload it so I can perform the search.
Is there a way I can do this more quickly or would that be something you could implement?

Rockster Oct 14 10 at 10:52 am

Another application would be for the folks out there in the local and regional music promotion industry, They could load there “show flyers” up on Tineye and be sent an alert when there flyer shows up again to be able to get a better sense of demographics, who is interested and where the best traffic is. Most people are drawn in to going to seeing a local music show by word of mouth or in this case copying a show flyer to there blog or profile page. i am sure this could be applied to many other fields but i am just thinking personally and locally here :)

Jeremy Owen Hughes Oct 14 10 at 11:01 am

I like the idea of receiving alerts for when my images are found on the web. I also second the concern about uploading images. On that front, it would be good to partner with image hosting sites like SmugMug and Flickr as people have already uploaded images there.

It would also be nice to have a means of uploading a csv or xml file containing url/domains to whitelist/blacklist as well as keyword association(when image is found on pages with certain words) ie, a portrait photographer’s images showing up on dating or adult sites.

Or, showing up on other photographer sites, claiming those images are their work.

Another suggestion along the lines of partnering with Smugmug/flickr is the ability to find images in your own or in the other members galleries, which are similar. Ie, same shooting style… Or finding other people who might have covered a similar event and use that to create adhoc user defined “pool groups”. I believe that it would be a strong value add for all involved.


Wing Wong Oct 14 10 at 11:32 am

It will be a really nice feature… but i think you can extend it further more…
Why not to create a mesh on image similarities? that way we can somehow track how the image is moving across the web
something like a graph connecting websites as nodes and showing us the paths our work are in…

cablop Oct 14 10 at 11:46 am

Recently a client of mine recently had a logo swap and I should have used TinEye to spot the old logo on third party sites.

Image alerts are a great idea. Anything else you’re tinkering with? Like data that can be gleaned from the images themselves, like click through rates?
Now, that’s killer…

Colleen O'Shea Oct 14 10 at 1:14 pm

Image Alert: for myself I see no use for this but I can imagine that right holders might find this a good future, even it is not a total-solution to follow your pictures. But good to develop this future ofcourse. Cheers and keep up the good work !

Best of the web Oct 14 10 at 2:16 pm

I’m a Photoshelter customer, so for a start it would be great if the Tineye-indexed pictures there were part of such an alert service. Then, there’s no point in sending the same reports of the same images all the time – the alert should either just feature new instances found, or the new instances should be the first part of the alert.


Dave Oct 14 10 at 2:22 pm

Hi Team!
This is a nice feature, but I have an additional tip for the service. Not really a feature though, but you need to check that search results are existent. Several times my search results was unavailable, so although TinEye show the results, when I click the link, the linked picture is missing/lost/404’d. If the service doesn’t filter out outdated and incorrect picture links somehow, then the search is quite useless.
Apart from this, TinEye is a brilliant service. Keep growing the index.

Rev Oct 14 10 at 4:09 pm

This is an excellent idea. In principle, this should be as easy as building a second index of every uploaded image (or at least an index of images that people want to get alerts about) similar to the index of crawled images. Then, for every image you crawl, you also do a search against the secondary index to see if anything matches, and if it does, send out an alert.

The AnT Oct 14 10 at 4:25 pm

tldr on the rest of the comments, so I’m sorry if this has already been suggested :)

What about a ‘more or less similar’ sliding option? Then if we had only a partial match we could turn that right down low to find more results.

Matt Oct 14 10 at 6:00 pm

What about indexing images used in Apps. More and more images are used in closed apps designed for Ipad/Iphone. If TinEye could also index those, that would be ery useful

Paul Melcher Oct 15 10 at 6:32 am

Hi Tineye team, I have one product in mind that I really really would like to see. And yes, I would even be ready to pay $$ for it.

It’s a subscription service. It let’s me enter the URLs to my static images into a database, and then the service does a scheduleed search for those images. Maybe the service even fetches those images just once to reduce server load. And then I -as a subscriber to the service- can either check the status of the images online, or set certain triggers for emails, e.g. images that were found, where these were found, etc. etc. Here, customization and flexibility is key.

(If that feature exists already, please let me know.)

— Mark

Mark Oct 15 10 at 7:29 am

An image matching alert would be great. I use to upload some images every certain time to see if Tineye has found any coincidence (or a new coincidence) anywhere. It would be great to upload those images just once (or pick them from our history records) and mark them for image alert.

Juan Carlos Walls Oct 15 10 at 4:51 pm

Tineye is fast and reliable with image searches by URL. However, when I upload images from My Documents via Safari, it sometimes cranks for hours and never produces results. Is there a daily limit for uploaded photo searches? What is the limit, so I can plan my searches. Thanks.

George Oct 16 10 at 12:42 pm

I’m using Tineye to find the photographers of photos in order to cite them/ask permission to use photos from an art/research project about perceptions of peace (all from flickr)in order to create an exhibition. This has taken me hours and hours of searching. It would be great to upload a batch of images you want to find and specify where you think they’re from (in this case flickr) and then have tineye return all the results in one go. Also, to have an alert when tineye finds the image at a later date would be great (I’ve noticed that you’ve added a lot more images from when I started the search but don’t know whether to start again from scratch!). Having said that tineye has been the saving grace of my project…

lkh Oct 17 10 at 7:52 am

Tineye is a wonderful tool to find photos on the web. I use it to find my own work that is used across the globe; Tineye as a means to track where my images are used.

Paul Hakimata Oct 21 10 at 12:13 pm

A lot of Deviant art users find their art on sociall websites.

It would be really useful to be able to campare the contend of their dA gallery rather that having to upload multiple images. Perhaps a web page link tpo the gallery would make this eaasier for alerts. I would use it

Paula Hall Oct 22 10 at 6:54 am

Automatic DMCA takedown notice? :-)

DMCA Oct 24 10 at 1:47 am

Hi, how about search results including similar image matches, ranking/sorting by relevance/similarity (by percentage) ie: picture of a blue robot might be 35% similar to that of a red robot with a different background. So not just exact matches are found, lots of VAGUELY similar results are displayed too. Would be nice to see how long images have been online and a sort by date/match percentage/and popularity too. Thanks, ern.

ern Oct 26 10 at 7:24 pm

Sorry for not reading all the comments on the site to see if this has been mentioned before, but I’m not a photographer or rights holder looking for infringers. I use TinEye to try to find out the licensing status of images I’d like to use on my blogs, hoping that they will either be GPL’d or at least reasonably priced.

But, digging through all the results is tedious. So, what I’d love to see, if you can work out the details with the rights holders, is a message on your search results saying, “This image belongs to so-and-so, click here to make an arrangement with him to use this image.” Or if it’s GPL’d or known to be in the public domain, I want you to tell me that as well.

Maybe this would be attractive to rights holders, having people come to them, rather than having to hunt them down, and they would be willing to pay TinEye a finders fee for putting me in touch with them if the deal is made.

Steven Oct 29 10 at 12:08 am

An image matching alert would be great. I use to upload some images every certain time to see if Tineye has found any coincidence (or a new coincidence) anywhere. It would be great to upload those images just once (or pick them from our history records) and mark them for image alert.

pictures Nov 10 10 at 5:54 pm

TinEye is an awesome tool! I wonder if the image matching algorithm can be expanded to handle broader matches? I’d love to see matches made on similar hue or value compositions, etc. Imagine being able to find an image with only a rough sketch of what you remember seeing!

Yue Nov 10 10 at 6:35 pm

I would actually like to point to a source URL (like my blogg) and ask TinEye to report where else the same images can be found. TinEye would then give me a nice interface to filter what images I’m interested in watching. How the source URL should be traversed in a smart way I leave up to you. :-)

I actually don’t see much point in having to upload images. My guess is most stolen images are stolen from the web, so they are already on the web somewhere. Why bother with doing the work of uploading twice?

Jonte Nov 18 10 at 5:13 am

This is very interesting, and very dangerous at the same time. Yes, you can send alerts about attribution. Okay. What about photos of events where dozens of photographs attend to shoot the same people. Your engine will think it’s a similar image… but in fact, in might just have been shot at the same time by the guy standing next to the original photographer. Especially if the photographed subject is far away, you will have almost no parallax effect in the effective resolution most people use online.
Am I missing something?
Like that iPhone example in the video. Don’t tell me my own iPhone would not look the same if photographed. It will then popup as an alert to someone, although I shot the photo with my own gear.

Android development services Nov 26 10 at 5:10 pm

I would like to see integration with websites like flickr and image libraries so that every time you upload your images they get added to the index.

This would allow people to find you when they are searching for your image to attribute you or pay you

You could put the image libraries at the top of the search results

This would be the killer application if orphan works legislation ever came in, because a search on tineye would prevent your work being used as an orphan work

Paulo Rodrigues Dec 04 10 at 1:42 pm

A few thoughts …

I’m a freelance photographer and the image alert would be very useful track down copyright infringements. Prehaps the auto alerts could be paid for via a revenue share?

Also the ability to search for watermarks (which all my unsold images are).

Basically some sort of pro-lite product aimed at freelancers rather than companies would be ideal!

Cliff Hide Dec 16 10 at 9:00 am

First: you did a great job. I work daily with tinEye. Nearly one year from now. For me as an artist and “image-optimizer” it’s a great tool to control the “top-images”.

My default option is to search for the biggist image. Mostly this is the original. But when I think of it I have no ideas what to do better. Perhaps crawln a little bit faster german results ;-)

Martin Jan 07 11 at 5:00 pm

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