Image Search Vs Reverse Image Search Explained!

A few yeas ago, search was just search. It was simple and straight forward; Go to your favorite search engine, type in your keyword or key phrase and search the web. In 2017, there is much more to search than just search. We have many different search engines that are competing with Google and Yahoo. Then we had Image search and now reverse image search.

Google introduced reverse image search and the explanation and meaning got tangled up with the already existing Image search. Even in 2017, some people still ask me what the difference is between Image search and reverse image search. While they’re in the same ballpark there is a significant difference between these two concepts. So here it is.

Image search:

As the name suggests, Image search is simply searching for images using a search engine. To perform an image search, just provide the keyword or phrase that relates to the kind of images you are looking for. In Google, there are two main options. You can go to, search for a keyword e.g. Obama. When the results come out, you will see all kinds of results including websites, blogs, YouTube videos, images e.t.c.  Click or tap on the  Images tab to see image results.

image search

You could also go to and enter the search phrase there. This is purely an image search so the results will only be images. Just like the results above. That is what Image search is. You use a keyword or phrase to search for images online.

Yahoo, bing and other search engines allow you to search for images on the internet just like Google.  Not all have the extra domain but a simple search will give you results,  then the Images tab will show you image results exclusively.

Reverse Image Search:

This is a different ball game. In reverse Image search, it’s like doing what we’ve done above backwards. Instead of  using a keyword or phrase to search,  you will use an image. You will upload the image to the search engine and it will use the image to find other related images on the web. The image is the keyword.

for instance,  Google’s reverse image search url is  Go to that page, give the image you want to search for b either uploading the image from your computer/phone or providing the image url if the image is online.

reverse image search

Google will search for related images online and return them in the search results. The results will contain similar images and their details.

Google’s was the first reverse image search engine made. Until now, Yahoo search engine cannot perform reverse image searches.

bing reverse image search

Bing also does a good job at reverse image search allowing you to search images by uploading or providing the image url.

Reverse image search is used by photographers to check which websites are using their images online.  Bloggers also use it to see the original source of a photographs before using them their bloggers. If a friend sends you a photo on Whatsapp, you can also try to trace it back to its source using reverse image search.

There are also other web services that offer reverse image search services like TinEye and Amit Agarwal’s Search by Image online tool.

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