|Type of site||Image Search Engine|
|Alexa rank||2,454 (December 2013[update])|
TinEye is a reverse image search engine developed and offered by Idée, Inc., a company based in Toronto, Canada, which was founded by Leila Boujnane and Paul Bloore in 1999. The use of the Web application is free of charge for customers. While computer vision and image identification research projects began as early as the 1980s, the company claims that TinEye is the first web-based image search engine to use image identification technology. Currently, the technology is an Open beta release. Idée launched the service on May 6, 2008. The intended user base of the site includes owners of copyrighted images who are looking to see if their work is being used online without authorization, as well as brand marketers who are tracking where their brands are showing up on the web.
A user uploads an image to the search engine (the upload size is limited to 20 MB) or provides a URL for an image or for a page containing the image. The search engine will look up other usage of the image in the internet, including modified images based upon that image, and report the date and time at which they were posted. TinEye does not recognise outlines of objects or perform facial recognition, but recognises the entire image, and some altered versions of that image. This includes smaller, larger, and cropped versions of the image. TinEye has shown itself capable of retrieving different images from its database of the same subject, such as famous landmarks. TinEye is capable of searching for images in JPEG, GIF, or PNG format. As of 2009[update], other formats that contain images online, such as Adobe Flash, are not searchable.
Results generated from TinEye include: the total number of matches in their database that the submitted image has generated, a preview image and URL to each match, as well as a function called Compare Images. Compare Images will bring up a window where the user can switch back and forth between the original image and the search result. TinEye can sort results by best match, worst match, biggest image, or smallest image.
TinEye's ability to search the web for specific images (and modifications of those images) makes it a potential tool for the copyright holders of visual works to locate infringements on their copyright. It also creates a possible avenue for people who are looking to make use of imagery under orphan works to find the copyright holders of that imagery. Being that orphan works can be defined as "copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or impossible to identify and/or locate," the use of TinEye could potentially remove the orphan work status from online images that can be found in its database.
In July 2013, TinEye claimed to have indexed more than three billion images for comparisons. However, this is a relatively small proportion of the total number of images available on the World Wide Web.
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