We’ve started a blog series to answer some of the questions we’ve received from our users and fans. Previously, we covered how you can use TinEye to find the copyright owner of an image. This post’s question comes to us from the security and privacy conscious folks out there – and that should be everyone :)
“What happens to the image I upload to TinEye for searching? Are they saved and added to your database? Can anyone else see them?”
We understand why you’d ask such a question. There is a long and a short answer to this. The short answer is: no, your search images are definitely not saved by TinEye. Your search images cannot be viewed by anyone else. We do this on purpose for the privacy of our users: TinEye deletes your search images and search results.
The long answer can tell you a little more about what happens to your images and how we handle them.
When you upload a search image to TinEye, your image is searched against the growing TinEye index. At the time of this post’s publishing, TinEye’s index contains over 15 billion images. These images are not collected from our user uploads. We do the hard work of crawling the internet for webpages and storing information about the images we find including the page URL, image URL and date we crawled the page.
Rest assured, we don’t permanently save or share the images you use to search. When you use an image to search, it is temporarily uploaded to our servers to be indexed – this is the process by which we create a unique fingerprint of your image using image recognition. Once this is completed, we compare your search image against our entire TinEye index to find a match for you. Once we display your search results to you, your search image is discarded and not added to our index.
In the past users concerned about their privacy have asked us if anyone else can see their search images, and the answer to that question is also: No. No one can see what you are searching for, except the image recognition servers dedicated to creating a fingerprint for your search image. No human is involved in the indexing of search images or the retrieval of your search results, it is a machine world at TinEye, so go ahead and search all you want.