4.2 Image Searching and Reverse Image Searching

Images make up a major portion of the content available on the Internet and it is important for the OSINT researcher to know how to look for images by searching by text and by searching by images themselves.

Text Based Image Searches

The first type of search is called a “text based search.” In this case you are trying to find images based on a phrase. This might be for general research purposes, because you have a photo of a location that you’re trying to identify, because you have a logo that you’re trying to research, or for any other purpose where you are able to describe the content of the picture using words.

To conduct a text based search go to Google and type in “Google Images” and you will be taken to the URL https://images.google.com/. Alternatively, from the Google home page on the top right, click on Images to access the image search option.

Note that when you type in a phrase, such as “Albert Einstein” you will have a number of pictures of Albert Einstein that appear. Why do you think that is?

Go ahead and open up a new tab and try the search on Google Images. If you observe the text around the image, the image’s file name or the tags associated with the image you will see that the words Albert and Einstein are present. That is how text based image searches work.

Reverse Image Searches

Google (and other search engines) allows you to conduct a reverse image search as well. You perform reverse image searches when you have an image in your possession, or on an image that you have located online.

To learn how to do a reverse image search on Google by either uploading an image you have on your computer, or by searching on the URL of the image, please visit this page: https://support.google.com/web…

Once you’ve read through the information on that page, go ahead do a reverse image search. You can locate your own images online, or try the images presented below (remember you will have to save the image to your computer in the first example).

Example 1:

Example 2:

Here is the link to the same picture online. Try to search using the link:

Image of Tim Berners-Lee.

Further Reading

Google has an advanced search page specifically for text based searches. Click this link to learn more about advanced searching for images: https://www.google.com/advance….

For more information on navigating your image search results, click here: https://support.google.com/web…