Is there a way to search how a specific image has been used on the internet?
March 17, 2010 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Can I see how an image of me has been used on the internet?

I know there's probably not, but here's what got me thinking about it. I used to work at an alt-weekly a couple years back where different images of me would get put on the internet a lot. I was curious how many of the old pictures were still floating around, so I did a google image search for my "working" name.
None of the old pix really show up (the name is pretty common) except one, which shows up the very first. It's a pic from an industry party, during a time when I had an awful, awful mustache.
I can't figure out why this picture sticks out so prominently on a google image search unless it's been used on a site besides the one it was originally hosted on.
posted by joechip to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you give Tineye an image, it'll show you where it appears on the web. Is that the kind of thing you're looking for?
posted by box at 5:59 PM on March 17, 2010 [7 favorites]

Well, the search itself will tell you where that particular instance of the image occurs online, right? I mean, I would think Google image search isn't differentiating which picture is which, it doesn't "know" where else "that" image has been used. It looks for your search terms and applies particular contextual logic to guess whether associated pictures are connected to the occurrence of the search terms. So what it most likely boils down to is that your "name" is particularly well-associated with that image in the context where Google finds it from the perspective of search logic.

Other than a visual engine like the already-mentioned Tineye (which is really hit and miss I've found) or searching for the filename of the photograph you do know about (if it is anything distinctive about it), I don't think you can track down a particular image online with any ease.
posted by nanojath at 8:57 PM on March 17, 2010

I know joechip in real life, so I was able to find the image. Looking at the image, it looks like the file itself has your full name in its title. I would bet that would cause Google to push the photo's ranking to the top.

(And yeah, dude, that mustache ...)
posted by Bookhouse at 10:30 PM on March 17, 2010

Yeah, Tineye was the kind of thing I was looking for. It didn't turn up anything else... Bookhouse's reasoning is probably correct then. Thanks guys!
posted by joechip at 4:40 PM on March 18, 2010

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