We usually look for stuff online using words.  But you can also search using images. This allows you to start a Google search using any image on the web. Researchers can use the reverse search option to find the original source of an image or to know the approximate date when a picture was first published on the Internet.

Possible scam victims can use it to see if the picture, for example, is of a D list celebrity, a porn star or some random person who lives in central London, has a cat and works in a bank. Reverse image search isn’t fool proof. It won’t stop an experienced scammer, but it is worth spending a few minutes seeing if there are the same or similar pictures online.

When using Chrome, choose a picture you’d like to check out. Using your mouse or touchpad, ‘Right click’ this image, and choose ‘Search Google for image’.

Update (March 2022): Google reverse search (right click the picture and then click Search Google for image doesn’t seem to be an option for some versions of Chrome. Google is still referring to it. Instead, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this page.

If the picture you are wanting to check out is in an app on your phone, take a screenshot. This quickly saves what’s on your screen, including the picture. If the app allows it, open up the picture to get the full image.

For Android users: https://support.google.com/android/answer/9075928?hl=en-GB

For iPhone users: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT200289

Upload a photograph from your desktop or your phone to Google Images and it will show you related images used on other websites and also different sizes of the same photo almost instantly. Use your common sense to work out if the results suggest something is amiss or incorrect.

If you haven’t got ‘Right click’ this image, and choose ‘Search Google for image’, then please follow the steps below. There used to be an extension called ‘Search by Image (by Google)’ which was very useful, but this seems to have been removed.

Search with an image on Google

What you find when you search

Your results can include:

  • Search results for objects in the image
  • Similar images
  • Websites with the image or a similar image

Compatible browsers

You can do a reverse image search on most browsers, like:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari

Upload a picture

Follow this section if you have the image already downloaded on your PC:

On your computer, open a web browser, like Chrome or Safari.

  1. Go to Google Images
  2. Click Search by image Search by image.
  3. Click Upload an image and then Choose file or Browse.
  4. Select a picture from your computer.
  5. Click Open or Choose.

Drag and drop a picture

You can also follow these steps if you have an image already on you computer. Important: To drag and drop pictures, you’ll need to use Chrome or Firefox.

  1. On your computer, open a browser, like Chrome or Firefox.
  2. Go to Google Images
  3. On your computer, find the file with the picture you want to search with.
  4. Click the picture.
  5. Hold down the mouse, drag the picture, and then drop it into the search box.

Search with a URL (website address)

  1. On your computer, open a web browser, like Chrome or Safari.
  2. Go to the website with the picture you want to use.
  3. To copy the URL, right-click on the picture.
  4. Click Copy image address.
  5. Go to Google Images
  6. Click Search by image Search by image.
  7. Click Paste image URL.
  8. In the text box, paste the URL.
  9. Click Search by image.

Google report that the URLs you search with aren’t saved in your browsing history. Google may store the URLs to make their products and services better.

If you need help with reverse image search, please contact me.