Reverse Image Search allows you to search the web for matches based upon a picture or photo. For example if you have a specific picture of a thing or person, you can use Reverse Image Search to search the web for other instances of that exact picture, or pictures like it. Reverse image search has many practical applications, from trying to determine the origin of a picture, to fact checking, to verifying the legitimacy of an image, and much more.
Using Reverse Image Search with Google is easy, we’ll show you an ultra quick way to use this powerful web tool within the Chrome web browser.
How to Reverse Image Search Quickly with Chrome
The Google Chrome browser makes performing reverse image searches as easy as right-clicking a picture and choosing a specific image search option, here’s how it works on Chrome for Mac, Windows, Linux:
- Open the Google Chrome browser (download here if needed)
- Find the picture you want to Reverse Image Search for and have it open in a web browser window
- Right-Click on the image (or two-finger click on a Mac trackpad)* and then choose “Search Google for Image”
- A new browser tab will open containing matches for the reverse image search, scroll through the results to find pages with matching images found from the reverse image lookup (if any are found)
In the example here, we are performing a reverse image search on a specific picture of a dog, and as you can see in the search results there are tons of matches for that image (it’s a free stock photo from Unsplash).
Sometimes, reverse image search will turn up nothing, usually this is the case with personal photos that have not been shared widely on the web. But with almost any photo you see in the news or shared on the web, you will often find hundreds if not thousands of results from the reverse image search.
Reverse Image Search is so easy within Google Chrome that even if you don’t use Chrome for other web browsing purposes, the quick access of reverse image search from Chrome makes the browser a worthwhile addition to any computer, whether it’s a Mac or PC. Google Chrome is free to download from here for any platform, including Mac, Windows, iOS, Linux, and Android.
You can also perform a reverse image search from any other web browser by going to images.google.com and pasting a link URL or uploading a picture to search by images for. The end result is the same.
* Right-clicking on the Mac can be accomplished in multiple ways; holding the Control key and clicking on something, tapping a trackpad with two fingers, using a literal right-click on a trackpad if configured, or if the mouse or pointing device has a physical right button by pressing on that. Almost all PC laptops have a physical right-click button for use with right-clicking in Windows and Linux.
Reverse Image Search can be a particularly powerful tool when trying to determine the legitimacy of an image, since you can aim to find the origin of a picture. This is especially helpful if you see something circulating around on social media with a preposterous claim attached (whether it’s fake news, propaganda, memes, political trash, bias reinforcing nonsense, or any of the other internet garbage that proliferates on social networks) and you want to fact check the picture or investigate it a bit more yourself, or perhaps even find the origin of the image, or discover if it has been altered or modified.
If you do find the original source image, sometimes you can even dig deeper into the images metadata to reveal information like geographic location and the precise time and date a photo was snapped. For many images on the web that’s a bit less common however, as many services strip metadata from their pictures, and most privacy conscious iPhone users
If you have any other helpful tips or tricks pertaining to using reverse image search to find the origin of a picture, for verification, or for fact checking purposes, or any other reason, share the tips with us in the comments below!