Google search is by far the most widely used tool on the internet. The average number of searches per day is comfortably in the billions. But people aren’t just using Google to search for websites. Google also helps users find images with the massive Google Images.
Start by selecting a subject or keyword. For this example, we’ll use “seashell.” Make sure to also click “Images” to focus the search.
Google Images by Color
Perhaps you had a particular color pallet in mind to match or complement an existing web page. This Google search can be even further narrowed. By clicking “Search Tools” a number of options appear. Open the drop-down menu for “Any color”, and select from 12 different hues. Here’s what you get when “brown” is chosen:
But we’re still not done! If you discover from these results one that looks almost right, hover over the image and more options appear. Click “Similar” and you just might find exactly what you were looking for.
Reverse Image Search
Another useful, and not well known, feature is search by image. That’s right, you can start a search by one of these means:
- upload an image
- copy/paste an image URL (found by right-clicking image on the web)
- drag and drop an image
Google search by image does not have face recognition capability. It will not, for example, find every picture of you on the internet. However, if you upload a picture of yourself standing in front of MIT’s Great Dome, it will focus on this historic recognizable building, and produce results based on it rather than on you.
While it does not recognize the specifics of your face it will find if that image has been posted elsewhere. So if you’re worried someone is using your headshot for a fake online profile, then you can put it into Google, perhaps with some contextual text like “facebook” and Google images may find your photo.
Pictures Paint a Thousand Words
Often, all I want from Google’s image search is the opportunity to actually see what I might not otherwise understand from words alone. Maybe I want to better envision a town I am considering for vacation, or inform my eyes about a poisonous spider I need to look out for. All this is easy now, thanks to Google.
For more commercial purposes, like finding an image to reuse on your webpage or post, make sure you understand copyright requirements. To make things easier, seek only images licensed under Creative Commons or as Google Images refers to them “labeled for commercial use with modification”, and always give attribution to the artist/ website where the image was originally hosted.