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Comparing Popular Reverse Image Search Tools

How do reverse image search tools do what they do? And why do you need to reverse search an image, to begin with? Both are very good questions in 2021. Let’s address the why part first. A reverse image search is a way for business managers, marketing teams, creative executives, legal teams, and even average individuals to locate the source or origin of an image or visual on the web. Why do you need it? This can depend on how you intend to use the image.  

The Best Reverse Image Search Tools in 2021 

If you intend to use it in your marketing collateral or publish it online, you could be infringing on copyrights in case the image is for licensed use only. A reverse image source can help your track down the original source or owner, from whom you can then purchase the rights to use it. If you’re a journalist your intended purpose may be to authenticate the image. With massive internet providers like Charter Spectrum serving virtually all of the United States, everyone has access to the internet these days. While this has certainly made life easier, it has also contributed to the growth in fake news.  

However, whatever your intended use, one of the best ways you can locate the origin of the image is through a reverse search engine tool. Regardless of what sort of images and visuals you work with, a reverse image search tool can be a very useful addition to your workplace armory. Determining authenticity, ownership, and usage rights should be standard practice in virtually any case. With billions of images on the internet, a good reverse image search tool can accurately look up the apparent source or the place where the visual first appeared on the web. Here are some of the best tools to use in 2021:  

Try Google’s Own Proprietary Image Search  

Google is the world’s largest search engine for all types of content. That includes searching for images. Most creatives and marketers use Google as the first tool to look for engaging visual ideas and inspiration. However, a lot of individuals fail to realize that Google’s image search engine also contains a reverse image search feature. It can help you accurately locate an image, identify copyrights, and even locate the original size of the image.  

More importantly, like most Google services, the image search engine is free to use. That includes reverse image search features. Here’s how to use Google image search to conduct reverse searches for specific images: 

  • Upload the visual from your device.  
  • Drag and drop the image into the Google search bar.  
  • Hit enter or click/tap search.  

The problem with the reverse image search tool on Google is that it only works with personal computers like laptops or desktops. It hasn’t yet included the reverse image search feature for mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. This means you need to be on a PC whenever you need to reverse search an image.  

Use Bing’s Visual Search Tool 

Google isn’t the only search engine for content or visuals on the web. It is only the largest and most used. Microsoft’s Bing is one of Google’s closest competitors. And like Google, Bing also offers search options for visuals and images. The visual search feature came to Bing in March 2014 and was originally designed to be a reverse image search tool.  

Bing, given Microsoft’s industry leadership, is a smooth and intuitive browser that integrates well with any browser. Consequently, the Bing Visual Search tool can be used on virtually all types of browsers, not just the native Internet Explorer or Edge. You can use it to locate the origin of specific visuals as well as check if your images or similar images are being used by competing brands. Conducting a reverse image search on Bing is fairly simple. All you need to do is upload an image or copy/paste an image URL into the search tab. The results will offer information concerning: 

  • Pages and websites using the image. 
  • Similar images already existing on the web.  
  • Searches relevant or similar to your image search.  

Bing also has a mobile application. However, the app currently works on Apple or iOS devices.  

Check Out Pinterest’s Visual Search Feature  

If there was such a thing as a speed dial on web browsers, you can be sure most marketers would have Pinterest on it. Pinterest is a fun, engaging, and intuitively designed image search tool that has been extremely popular since its release in 2015. The platform’s Visual Search features have been in extensive use for more than 5 years now. The Visual Search tool allows the results of image searches on browsers and on Pinterest to be sourced and their origins identified.  

The tool is easy and simple to use. And it can also be used on mobile devices and allows you to conduct reverse searches for a picture you snap in the real world. The segmented search features, in particular, can be very useful. Here’s how you can use it in three easy steps: 

  • Go to Pinterest’s website or application.  
  • Locate and click/tap the search button.  
  • Select the image or pin you want to reverse search. 
  • Select filters like topics for more refined results.  
  • Get similar pins or pins related to similar searches. 
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