Teaching unit: 

Ways to Use Google Image Search

If you’ve used a computer to browse the internet at any time over the last century then its more than likely you’ll be familiar with Google. Fire up the Google image search page, type in some text, boom! there’s your answer. This all happens before you can say, “Emily Maynard”. Google Search performs several hundred million searches per day and is the company’s most popular service. Google indexes millions of web pages, so users can search for the information they contain using simple keywords.

But, have you ever taken a closer look at the way you can search for images using Google? I use it quite a lot and I’m often surprised at how few people know about it.

Lets take a quick look at a few ways of using Google image search to;
• Find images
• Find similar images
• Identify unknown images
• Find web pages containing images
• Find matching items based on colour

Using Google Image Search to Find Images

First of all, lets take a quick look at the basics of finding an image.

Go to the Google search page.
Click “Images” from the menu.
In this example I’m looking for images of the classic 70′s Seiko Speedtimer so I type the search term, “seiko 6139 6002″.

The search returns thumbnail results that link off to various web pages containing images of the watch in question.
The menu down the left hand side of the page can be used to refine the results.

Google Image Search

Find Visually Similar Images

In this example we are going to find images that are “visually similar” or look like another image.
This is useful for finding images based on colour, composition or detail within an image rather than known search terms.

Go to the Google search page.
Click “Images” from the menu.
Click on the camera icon inside the search box.

Google Image Search

You will get a drop down that allows you to enter either an existing URL to an image or upload an image.
Click the “Search” button.

The search returns thumbnail results that are “visually similar” to the original image you entered the URL for, or uploaded.
The menu down the left hand side of the page can be used to refine the results.

Google Image Search

Identify Unknown Images

In this example we’ll see how we can identify an image, the image equivalent of Shazam if you will.
We’ll use the beautiful “Miranda and the Tempest” by John William Waterhouse.

To do this follow the same steps as the example above.
If the image is well known or if Google has indexed it previously, you’ll get the following results.

Google Image Search

Find Web Pages Containing Images

In this example we’ll see how we can find web pages where an image has been used.
We’ll use an illustration by local Poole artist and illustrator Jo Parry for our search.

To do this follow the same steps as the example above.
If the image has been used on a number of web pages that Google has indexed, you’ll get the following results.

Google Image Search

Find Matching Items Based on Colour

In this example we are going to find something that matches the colour of an existing item.
This is useful for finding cushions that match a lampshade without searching for “red cushions”. (I know, I know!)

To do this follow the same steps as the example above.
The image used for the search would be the lampshade, in a rather fetching shade of raspberry red.
After you’ve clicked the “Search” button add the following text into the search box;
“cushion cover uk” as we are interested in raspberry red cushion covers to purchase in the UK.

Google Image Search

Now click the blue “magnifying glass” search button on the right.

The search returns thumbnail results for “cushion cover uk” that match the colour of the original image.

Google Image Search

Hopefully we’ve given you a quick overview of a couple of ways you can get the most out of Google image search.
 

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