Some time ago we had presented the excellent TinEye search engine which is able to do search-by-similarity on images (you give it an image and it will find all similar images: cropped, reframed, slightly modified). Very useful to track pirates, copiers and illegal uses of your photos.
Several other products or in-development technologies also exist, like Gazopa (similar image search) or Imprezzeo (similarity search technology (not service, just a demo right now) or Picsout. But similarity-search is currently gaining speed.
Even if it is not always as precise as TinEye, it may be interesting when looking for a theme-based or form-based picture, rather than only the near-exact copy of an original image. That is what Google and Live Search are now offering or preparing.
- On Live Search Images, you can hover your mouse over any image and click the “show similar images” button.
- More experimental, the Google Labs have started to present a Similar Search Engine (in English only)
- Less experimental, but less useful in its current too crude implementation, the normal Google image search now allows to select image colours you would like to see dominating the search results. You can get only blue images of the Eiffel Tower (below). But others did it better (YotoPhoto -now closed, Flickr ColrPickr or Multicolr Search Lab -only in Flickr demo).
Technology is evolving. It’s up to us to create the corresponding uses.