TinEye

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Frequently Asked Questions

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TinEye

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Frequently Asked Questions

Using TinEye

Crawler and search index

Account management

Plugin and bookmarklet

Future plans

Answers

  • What is TinEye?

    TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions. TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. For some real TinEye search examples, check out our Cool Searches page.

    For an overview of how to use TinEye, check out this tutorial or watch our introductory video.

  • How does TinEye work? Does it use image names?

    When you submit an image to be searched, TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature or 'fingerprint' for it, then compares this fingerprint to every other image in our index to retrieve matches. TinEye can even find a partial fingerprint match. Those fingerprints use only the image itself, and not its name or surrounding text. Our fingerprinting technologies were developed by Idée Inc.

    TinEye does not typically find similar images (i.e., a different image with the same subject matter); it finds exact matches including those that have been cropped, edited or resized.

  • Why use TinEye?

    There are many uses for TinEye, but here are a few:

    • Find out where an image came from, or get more information about it
    • Research or track the appearance of an image online
    • Find higher resolution versions of an image
    • Locate web pages that make use of an image you have created
    • Discover modified or edited versions of an image

    For some real examples of TinEye searches, check out our blog or Cool Searches page.

  • Who created TinEye?

    TinEye was created by Idée Inc. Idée develops advanced image identification and visual search software for photo wire agencies, stock photography firms, entertainment media companies and some of the world's leading imaging firms including Adobe Systems Inc., iStockphoto, and Associated Press.

    You can experiment and play with various implementations of Idée's visual search technologies by checking out the TinEye Labs!

  • What happens to the images I upload to TinEye?

    Images uploaded to TinEye are not added to the search index, nor are they made accessible to other users. Copyright for all images submitted to TinEye remains with the original owner/author.

    Search images submitted by unregistered users are automatically discarded after 72 hours. Links to these searches will stop working after 72 hours, unless a registered user happens to save the same image.

    Search images submitted by registered users are saved, if search history is enabled in their user Profile. Saved searches are available from the user's private History page, and permanent URL links to any saved search can be bookmarked or shared with friends.

  • Can TinEye find similar images? Does TinEye do facial recognition?

    TinEye finds exact and altered copies of the images that you submit, including those that have been cropped, colour adjusted, resized, heavily edited or slightly rotated. TinEye does not commonly return similar matches, and it cannot recognize the contents of any image. This means that TinEye cannot find different images with the same people or things in them.

  • Am I free to use images I find through TinEye?

    Most images found online are protected by copyright. If you would like to use any image found through our service, contact the image owner. A TinEye search may help you to find the owner.

  • Is there a limit to how many searches I can do?

    Yes. The free for non-commercial use version of TinEye at tineye.com allows you to do up to 50 searches per day, up to 150 searches per week. If you exceed your search limit, or want to use TinEye for commercial use you may purchase a paid version of TinEye which allows for virtually unlimited search by pre-paid bundles. The paid version of TinEye includes a user interface for easy manual searching, as well as an API for more advanced automated searching. Alternatively, you may wait until the next day to continue searching at tineye.com, once your search limit has been reset.

    Note: If you use a shared or dynamic IP address, you may reach your search limit quickly if other people on your connection are using TinEye as well. To avoid this, simply create a TinEye account and make sure you are logged in. This way, only your individual searches are counted by TinEye.

  • Can I use TinEye to find images in my own private collection or local hard drive?

    We have introduced a paid service that allows you to perform reverse image search on local or private images. Please see our company website for more information.

  • How can I stop people from cheating on image-based quizzes by using TinEye?

    TinEye is just an image search engine. Like text search it is a basic tool, and can be used in many ways. Just as you can't stop people from using a text-based search to answer questions about quotes, you can't stop them from using TinEye to answer questions about images. But you can search for your image yourself, and if TinEye returns results, try a different image.

  • Can TinEye find this person for me?

    TinEye can recognize particular photos, but it does not recognize faces in the photos. So if you have one picture of a person and TinEye has others, but not that one, TinEye can't find it for you. Even if TinEye does find the same photo, it doesn't have the person's name, all it can tell you is where on the web it found the photo. The page the image came from might be able to tell you more.

Using TinEye

  • How do I submit an image to be searched?

    From the search page, you can either upload an image using the 'Upload an image' button, or point to a web image or web page by pasting in a URL. There is information about what happens to your uploaded image here.

    If you use Firefox, Chrome or IE you can install the TinEye browser plugin, which lets you right-click on any web image to search it.

    If you use any other javascript-enabled browser, you can install the TinEye bookmarklet. This lets you search for images from any web page that you are viewing.

  • What kind of images can I submit to TinEye?

    What kind of images can I submit to TinEye?

    • File type: JPEG, PNG and GIF image are all acceptable.
    • Image dimensions: TinEye works best with images that are at least 300 pixels in either dimension, but can accept images as low as 100 pixels in either dimension.
    • File size: 20 megabytes is the maximum file size.
    • Watermarked images: For best results, visibly watermarked images should be avoided as TinEye may search for the watermark and not the image itself.
    • Subject matter: Submitted images must adhere to our Terms of Service.
  • Can I sort my results?

    By default, your results are sorted by 'best match'. However, you can also sort by 'biggest image' 'most changed' (which is usually the most heavily edited image result), 'newest' or 'oldest' crawled image.

    Just select your desired option from the 'Sort by' list on the left side of the page. TinEye will remember your selection for the duration of your session.

  • What do the 'Newest' and 'Oldest' sort orders do?

    The 'Newest' sort order displays the images most recently found by TinEye's web-crawlers at the top. The 'Oldest' does the opposite, showing the earliest crawled images at the top.

    It is important to understand that the date we crawled an image isn't the date that it first appeared on the webpage - we don't know that date. So we can't tell you when an image first appeared on the internet, only the first date we found it on!

    The web is constantly changing, so older crawled images may no longer exist where we originally found them.

  • What does the 'Compare' feature do?

    This feature lets you switch between your submitted image and the result image, highlighting any differences between the two. It works best when an image has been heavily modified.

  • What must I do to be able to use permalinks to my searches?

    TinEye must be able to save your search image to permanently link to your search results.

    Unregistered users of TinEye cannot save their search images, as they are automatically discarded after 72 hours. Links to these searches will stop working after 72 hours, unless a registered user happens to save the same image.

    Registered users of TinEye can save their search images if history is enabled in their user Profile. Saved searches are available from the user's private History page, and permanent URL links to any saved search can be bookmarked or shared with friends.

    Registration with TinEye is free.

  • I searched for one of my images and found a website where it's being used without my permission. What should I do?

    Although TinEye can help you locate websites where your images appear, those websites are not owned or controlled by TinEye or Idée. If you are concerned about how your images are being used on a particular website, try contacting the site owner.

  • Is there a TinEye API?

    Yes. We've introduced a paid, pilot API that allows you to search the web using the TinEye search engine. Read more about it on our API page.

    We have also introduced a paid service called MatchEngine that allows you to perform reverse image search on local or private images. Please see our company website for more information.

  • Is TinEye free to use?

    TinEye is free for non-commercial use. There is a paid version of TinEye for commercial use, which allows you to purchase searches in advance via pre-paid bundles. The paid version of TinEye includes a user interface just like the one at tineye.com, as well as an API for integrating TinEye with your own website or system. Questions? Please get in touch!

Crawler and search index

  • How many images are in TinEye's search index?

    TinEye is constantly crawling the web and updating our image database regularly. We also accept direct contributions of complete online image collections. To date, TinEye has indexed 5,851,520,160 images from the web. We add tens of millions of new images to TinEye every month, and our index is on the grow.

    To receive notification when we update our index, please subscribe to our Updates RSS feed. Alternatively you can follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

  • How do I prevent TinEye from crawling my site? Does TinEye obey robots.txt?

    The Tineye crawler does obey robots.txt. Adding a robots.txt file to your website with an entry to disallow "TinEye" will prevent TinEye from crawling it in the future.

  • Can TinEye crawl or detect Flash content?

    The TinEye crawler is unable to get Flash content at this time.

  • Why can't TinEye find my image? I know it is on the web.

    TinEye is constantly crawling the web and updating our image database regularly. If we missed your image, it is simply because we have not yet crawled the website or page where it appears. But be sure to keep checking back! We add tens of millions of new images to TinEye every month, and our index is on the grow.

    To receive notification when we update our index, please subscribe to our Updates RSS feed. Alternatively you can follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

    Note: Some website content is protected by robots.txt, is private, or otherwise uncrawlable. We are not able to get images from protected sites. Facebook and most other social networking sites are among these.

  • How do I get my images added to TinEye?

    Create an imagemap and submit it to TinEye to have your images crawled, indexed and added to the TinEye index. Image submissions are reviewed as they are received but may take time to appear in the TinEye index. Once your contributor images are indexed and added to TinEye, your images will appear at the top of the TinEye image search results when your images are a match for a user's search.

  • How do I get my image removed from TinEye?

    TinEye simply crawls the web and directs you to content on publicly available websites. If you want content removed from the web, you should contact the webmaster of the site where that content appears.

    With this in mind, to remove personal or copyrighted images from TinEye only, please provide TinEye with the information listed on this page.

Account management

  • Why register with TinEye?

    Registration is not required to use TinEye, but it's free and it offers a few benefits:

    • Be the first to try out new features and provide your feedback
    • Get permanent URL links to your searches that can be bookmarked, shared with friends, blogged, etc. (See 'What happens to the images I upload to TinEye' for more info)
    • Save your search history and easily perform the same searches again
  • How do I create an account?

    To create an account, visit our registration page and fill in the form. TinEye will need to verify your email address, so please be sure to check your email for instructions.

  • I didn't receive my verification email. What should I do?

    The first thing you should do is check your junkmail and email filters to make sure it didn't get caught before it reached your inbox. The email is called: 'Welcome to TinEye!'

    If this doesn't work, you can have your email resent. Visit the TinEye login page and enter your email and password. You will get a message with an option to have your verification email resent.

    Finally, some email services simply seem to block messages from TinEye. If you did not receive your email and it was not filtered, please contact us via our Feedback form.

  • What is History and how do I enable/disable it?

    Registered users of TinEye can visit their History page to see all of their past TinEye search images, including the date, time and number of results for each search. To search for an image again, just click on it.

    History can be enabled or disabled by editing the preferences on your Profile page. If history is disabled, all prior searches are cleared, and future search images will be discarded by TinEye after 72 hours. Links to these searches will also stop working after 72 hours. (See 'What happens to the images I upload to TinEye' for more info)

    Use the 'Clear all' button on the History page to clear all of your current searches without disabling History in the future.

  • How do I change my password?

    You can change your password by editing the personal info on your Profile page. Enter your old password in the Old Password field, and your new password in the New Password field, then Click 'Update Profile'.

  • Can I change my email address?

    Not at this time. Your email address is used as your login, which currently cannot be changed. If you need to use a different email address you will need to create a new TinEye account.

  • How do I delete my account?

    To delete your account, visit your Profile page and click the 'Delete your profile' link. You will be asked to confirm this change as it is permanent.

Plugin and bookmarklet

  • Do the plugins and bookmarklet work for Mac/Linux/PC?

    The plugins and bookmarklet will work with any operating system; it depends on your browser (please see the next question).

  • Do the plugins work with Opera/Safari/IE/Firefox/Chrome?

    The plugins work with the latest stable builds of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer. (The plugins may not work properly if you are running certain unstable builds or beta versions of your browser).

    The TinEye bookmarklet works for any javascript-enabled browser.

  • What is the TinEye bookmarklet?

    The TinEye bookmarklet allows you to search for any images appearing on the web page you are viewing, without having to go to TinEye first. Unlike the TinEye plugin — which allows you to right-click an image to search for it — the bookmarklet is run from your browser's bookmark menu. When you click the bookmarklet, it submits the URL of the web page you are viewing to TinEye, fetches the images, and asks you to choose which image to search (just like when you paste a web page URL to the TinEye search page).

    The TinEye bookmarklet is recommended for users of mobile browsers, as well as any other browser that does not support plugins.

  • I tried to install the Firefox plugin but it isn't working. Why?

    First off, make sure you are allowing Firefox to install software from tineye.com. (If you aren't, you will probably see a message at the top of your screen with an 'allow' button; click this and continue).

    Also, Firefox 3 may have some trouble installing the plugin automtically once you click on the link. If this happens, just opt to save the file when prompted, then in Firefox go to File > Open File and select the file that you saved. Firefox will then install the plugin automatically.

  • I'm using Internet Explorer 8 and nothing happens when I try to use the plugin. Why?

    IE8 users must enable the "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer" security option to run the TinEye plugin. In the IE8 browser, go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Security, then check "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer" and restart the browser.

    If you do not wish to enable this setting in your browser, try using the TinEye bookmarklet instead.

  • I tried to install the Safari extension but it says that "Extensions are disabled". What do I do?

    Make sure Safari extensions are enabled by going to Safari settings > Preferences > Advanced in the Safari menu bar. Make sure "Show Develop menu in menu bar" is selected. Then select Page settings > Develop > Enable Extensions. You should then be able to install the Safari extension.

Future plans

  • Will there ever be alerts or a way to search for more than one image at a time?

    We will be introducing a paid feature which will allow you to upload or point to a group of images, and have TinEye check for matches on a regular basis, sending you updates when a match is found.

  • How can I stay informed about TinEye?

    There are a few ways:

    • Check out our Updates page, which includes all the latest release information as it happens. You can subscribe to this page via RSS.
    • Read the TinEye blog for fun examples of TinEye in action, and the latest news. You can also subscribe to the blog via RSS.
    • Subscribe to the TinEye newsletter to receive release info, news and special offers!