Use Google “search by image” to track your pictures (or to spot fake facebook profiles)

by steren

Google released two months ago an update to its image search engine: You can now search by providing an image as input.

I see some use case for this feature, a powerful one is to allow creators to track their pictures.

Track your pictures
Let’s take an example, I created this wallpaper 3 years ago:

Creative Commons BBB

A wallpaper using characters from Big Buck Bunny

I released it under a Creative Commons Attribution license and put it on flickr, so people were welcomed to use it.

I was pleased to see that it was used on hundreds of webpages (including WikiHow), even in languages I don’t understand like polish or finish, and most of them are giving attribution.

Similarly, a clipart of mine (released in the public domain) was used for various applications: create custom plates, make fan art of Alice in Wonderland, sell caligraphy, or cupcakes and promote a church.
Many of my wikipedia image contributions are also findable across the internet (for example to write about dinosaurs or to portrait Christophe Salengro).

Copyright infringement

Let’s take a well known copyrighted image, such as this portrait:

Google similar image for "Afghan Girl", copyright Steve McCurry

Well, seing all the Google Image results, National Geographic could easily annoy the website’s owners by asking them to remove it. That would be crazy? Well consider that this kind of removals are systematic on Youtube, and, as Eric Schmidt said at the eG8 summit in Paris, could be automated and applied to the whole internet (they have the technology, it’s called Google Search by image).

For sure, this new little feature can be very useful for photographers and artists who want to protect their creations by tracking who is illegally using them. Visually searching the entire web has never been possible before, now it’s as easy as a google search.

But let’s finish this article on a funnier note:

Facebook fakes

Friends of mine were arguing with a girl on facebook and they suspected her to be an impostor.

a suspicious facebook profile

A quick Google search by image showed us that this picture was called “Portrait of happy young lady smiling” and sold on sites like fotolia. Some minutes after briging this proof, he/she deleted his/her account. I love technology.

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