Random Tip #3: Google Image Search

I’m not sure how this tip would best serve my blog’s audience, as I used it in specific situations that turned out to make my life a bit easier. I will share the tip and then my story so that you can ignore the narrative if you don’t care how to use the tip.

Google Images screen 1I’m a Google groupie. I know there are other search engines out there, but Google has always worked for me. I’m preparing for when Google actually takes over the world, and then I can honestly say that I was there in the beginning of it all. I especially like the ability to search for images based on the characteristics of an image I already have. In other words, if I have a photo of the Eiffel Tower, but I want to see other images that are like the one I have, then I can do an image search with my image.

Once you get to the Google Images search screen, just click the camera icon in the search box. You can paste a URL for the website with the image that you want to base your search from or you can upload an image you have already saved to your computer. The search will yield “matching” photos and then you can access the websites that host those photos by clicking on the found image and clicking the “visit page” button. You can do pretty much the same search method with the Google app….snap a photo and search Google images. Google image search options

That’s it. That’s my tip. If you’re wondering why you should care, then here are three scenarios to consider:

  1. Imagine that you went to Chicago Botanic Garden and took 500 photos of a variety of flowers, trees, bushes, grass, and children running around unsupervised. While there may be posted signs for much of the vegetation (not the children), not everything will be marked or you may not notice the signs. When you get home and sort through your 500 photos, there is one amazing shot of a flower that you don’t recognize. Bring in Google Image search. This is not foolproof, since your photo needs to be similar to other photos uploaded to the Internet, but sometimes it works.
  2. Many years ago, I did not model good “citing” behavior by writing citations for graphics I included in PowerPoint presentations. Now, I’m a more responsible adult and will build citations for graphics I use in lecture presentations (well…okay, I am more likely to do this in courses that I teach citation formats in). I had a very cool World Wildlife Fund PSA graphic that I couldn’t seem to track down with a regular Google search. I used the original graphic from my old presentation and found the graphic on several different websites. I didn’t find the original WWF version, but I had enough information to build a citation for the graphic.
  3. Imagine you’re sitting in a local restaurant and a friend notices a poster on the wall that looks like Chicago (or wherever). You and everyone at your table spend the next 10 minutes arguing if the view is in fact Chicago. While they’re arguing, just take out your smartphone, take a photo of the poster, open the Google search app, and search for the image using the photo you just took. Then, continue eating your meal until you can’t handle the drama of “IT’S CHICAGO! NO IT ISN’T!” and then reveal your findings.

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