If you’ve ever asked that question, you may be very interested to learn that you can search an image on Google. A picture is worth a thousand words and Google can use a picture to search for its subject.
You can search images on Google using a smartphone with Google Goggles, or using your computer with Google Search by Image.
Google Goggles is handy for many types of searches. If you’re traveling and want to find out more about a tourist attraction, use Google Goggles to identify the site and provide you with the history of it. If you’re out to dinner and want to know more about that bottle of wine you just enjoyed, use Google Goggles to scan the label. If you’re looking through old photos and can’t quite place a landmark from a past vacation, let Google jog your memory.
Google Goggles – Android and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch
You can search for images on Google with your smartphone camera. On Android phones you need to download Google Goggles, a free app in the Android Market. On the iPhone, iPad 2 and iPod Touch, you don’t have to download a separate app, the Google Goggles feature is in the Google search app.
Google Goggles can be used as a:
- QR Code scanner
- bar code scanner (for identification and price comparisons)
- translator (take a picture of the text and Google will translate it for you)
- Landmark identifier
- Sudoku puzzle solver (but what fun is that?)
You can also use Google Goggles to identify art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has an agreement with Google for the identification of its pieces.
Here’s a video from Google showing how Google Goggles works on Android phones.
Here’s a video from Google showing how Google Goggles works on the iPhone:
Computer – Google Search by Image
You can also use your computer to identify images using Google. You can either search an image on a website or one of your own images. (Unfortunately, if you’re wondering where that beautiful locale is that you see on Pinterest, Google can’t help you as it doesn’t work with Pinterest.)
Go to images.google.com and click on the camera icon.
To search a website, copy and paste the website address/URL into the search bar. To search an image on your computer, click on Upload an Image and then choose the file.
I searched this image of a castle I visited in Scotland:
Google accurately identified the castle as the Eilean Donan castle.
You can search pictures of yourself or family members to see which similar images Google finds. You might be flattered if Google finds a similar image of a movie star. Don’t be offended if Google’s search results aren’t as lovely as you had hoped. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Here’s a video from Google showing how Google Image Search works:
Word to the Wise
Searching Google using images can be incredibly useful but not 100% reliable. Just as with text searches, image searches may not produce the results you need. Don’t rely on Google’s image search for vital information such as whether a plant is poisonous.
Have you searched using Google Goggles or Google Image Search? Does Google think you look like a celebrity? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Castle image by Dave Conner