HUFFINGTON POST

Google's 'Search By Image' Lets You Query Without Words

Jun 14, 2011 | Updated Aug 14, 2011

If you don't know what a word means, or where a restaurant is, it's easy to enter the right query to find the answer. But if you have a picture you don't recognize, or a logo you don't know, it's less simple to figure out the right way to get your result.

Google Search by Image will change that.

The new feature will let users drag the images into the box, copy and paste URLs, or upload an image to find out more information about that image. For example, an old picture from a vacation could turn up where the picture was taken and might yield similar pictures.

Google uses much of the technology from Google Goggles to enable such search. Basically, the image is compared against millions of other images to determine its similarity. For more famous buildings or faces, Google says that it's likely more results would be returned, whereas less famous buildings and people would be less likely to return many results.

Google Search by Image will abide by the same privacy protocols as all kinds of Google search, meaning IP addresses are anonymized after 9 months and cookies are anonymized after 18 months.

For those who fear that such a feature could be used for facial recognition or property recognition, Google noted that the function is "agnostic" and simply searches based on what is already on the web.

Search by Image will roll out at images.google.com in the next few days, as well as to extensions for Chrome or Firefox.