TinEye is an exciting and new image search engine from Idée Inc. The service is currently in private beta, but I managed to garner an invite to use it.
The interface of the site couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is upload an image or an image URL, and the engine takes care of the rest. It can find images similar to the ones you have uploaded, even if they have been cropped, resized or even photoshopped.
TinEye does this by first creating a digital signature or fingerprint of the uploaded image, and then comparing it to the fingerprint of every other image in its search index.
I uploaded the picture of a morphed Hello Kitty Superman and got these images in the results. Not too shabby, eh? The results page can do with a complete overhaul though, as I am not a fan of needless page scrolling.
You can overlay the image results with the original and toggle them to find subtle differences. There is also an option to search for images easily with the TinyEye plugin for Firefox.
You are not allowed to upload any pornographic images as yet, but I was able to upload and search pictures of Jessica Alba in a bikini (for research purposes, of course.)
Do keep in mind that the search index is still quite small, and with a relatively miniscule 487 million images in the database, it’s still a work in progress. But there is a lot of potential in the service, and this could very well turn out to be the technology powering all future, image search engines.
You can request for an invite here.