When a tech giant decides to eat your lunch!

So Google launched its search by image feature. And just like that a tech giant decides to eat our lunch! Exciting times.

TinEye pioneered the world of search by images. Before Google. And we will continue doing exactly that. With focus. And you know what’s even more awesome? Every single day we show up to work, we are working on something that we are insanely passionate and committed to and that’s image search. Every single day. Including weekends. And vacations. Yes we are a tiny team, yes we don’t have the $$ that Google has at its disposition. But pause for a second here and think about the following: we accomplished what many deemed the impossible: large scale reverse image search with a tiny TinEye team. Tiny.

And this is where I am going to paraphrase Mark Suster: Focus wins.

So, don’t be writing TinEye’s obituary yet. And by the way: “if there are no big boys [in your market] – you’re probably in the wrong market”.

So go build something awesome and stop worrying about TinEye.

And to our fans: NOTHING is possible without your support, your emails, your kudos and your love. We heart you. And we will not let you down.

[Photograph: (c) Paul Downey]


  • I’m with you, guys. You are the pioneers of this tech, and i really like that you achieved this with only a few members. And I prefer that to a giant company.

  • Other small search engines are in the same situation as you. I think about Cydral, a french image search engine, that also achieved to deliver an interesting BtoC solution… Google is trying to kill competitors, that’s a shame. However, I will continue to support you!

  • My coworkers have been talking for years about how you guys beat Google to it. As a web/multimedia designer, I owe a ton to TinEye. I love you guys and you’ve catalyzed a breakthrough in how us designers search for visual inspiration online. Keep it up! <3

  • Oh, and by “catalyzed a breakthrough in how us designers search for visual inspiration”, I really meant “change the way humans find information.” :p

  • I love using your search. I am surprised why no tech blogs mentioned about Tineye when covering Google Search by Image. Many people don’t know that Tineye pioneered it!!

  • To be honest I just tried the google feature, it’s not even as nice as yours. In fact, I find it quite unintuitive. The results aren’t even displayed in the image window straight up…

  • Tineye search it way better than google image search. The only problem with tineye is that it does not have a very big (relative to google) image base. the funniest part about google image search is ” Try entering a descriptive word in the search box.” um… why not just do a text search then???

  • i like them. back in time they were tiny, and had thier giants too and now we call them giant. as far as i tried their search they really need ur algorithms. u can use their processing power. may be u both can do some symbiotic? or even stand up alone, as like as they did years before? )

  • You’re doing a great job! I can’t tell you how many times your search has been greatly helpful.

    Keep up your spirit! And as you said, focus!

  • You guys keep it up with the good work and not even Skynet will be able to hold you down, you’ve got great ideas and the talent to put them together so I don’t see any reason for you to stop working!

  • Criminal email scammers often use photos of modeling sites which they just stole. Our website, with a Tiny team is dedicated to stopping scammers and protecting internet users. With good results, and from the very first day we recommend on our site the use of tineye, hoping it will also bring good results for our visitors.

  • Google has image search? Well, department of Redundancy Department!

    Y’all are brilliant.

    Thanks for ~being!

  • You guys came up with a great product. Too bad the Google Empire had to come in and steal it.

  • I thought google would acquire tineye, but I see they didn’t/couldn’t.
    tineye is my first love in ‘reverse image search’ and I am too with you guys.
    I hope you last long and succeed.

  • Google is only good in finding down or upscaled sizes, tineye is also finding cropped files or files used in collages. Of course reverse imagesearch is easy to imitate, as google now shows. But I think you have an technological advance with your method and you have a business concept with cooperations. Good luck.

  • Google have had similar functionality for a while on mobiles via Google Goggles so it was bound to be brought to the desktop… Anyway, I’ve always used TinEye and always will! Thanks for pioneering!

  • As far as I can tell, they are not doing proper image searches – yet.

    They locate images based on file name (if I rename an image file, they don’t find it) and some other characteristics. There is no question they do a pretty good job at returning visualy similar images, but not identical or even the same. Tried uploading some, what should be well known images and it failed to match them.

    They still have a way to go to catch you. On the other hand, you also have a long way to go to catalog all the images on the web.

  • I’ve been using TinEye since day one. It’s been extremely helpful to me. I knew Google would eventually jump on the band wagon. I find it funny that Google’s reverse image search doesn’t even seem to work (it appears to match colors in an image, resulting in false-positives).

  • @M thanks for your support and for being a fan. These are the very very very early days of image search and there is still so much to do for TinEye, Google and others!

  • I respect you guys. I found nothin else on the net remotely close to the concept that u guys came up with when I first used tineye, and u were a great help. But recently I used tineye and then google reverse image search, and I got the results which I cudnt on tineye. Sorry to tell you but you need to improve your database, or google’s gonna take that away from you!

  • you should be realistic. yes you did a good job but now you need fresh ideas to stay and compete.
    believe it or not google won this round but think! you have a gigantic processed image database and priceless experience in image processing, what can you do with it other than reverse searching?

  • […] J’ai donc réalisé quelques tests, avec des images variées, et j’ai bien peur pour TinEye que Google soit le plus performant, et de loin. Pas étonnant pour le premier moteur de recherche du monde, qui a un index gigantesque comparé à celui de TinEye. Mais la petite équipe de TinEye, qui a tout de même inventé la recherche par image, au lieu de s’avouer vaincue, redouble de courage et de détermination et a décidé de continuer ce qu’elle a toujours fait : When a tech giant decides to eat your lunch! […]

  • To be fair to Google, reverse image search is not new — there were research papers published well before the existance of Google or Tineye.

    Being first in the market is significant, but that does not mean that latecomers are copycats.


  • @Rayson well of course computer vision research has been around for several decades and neither TinEye nor Google invented it! But a published research paper does not necessarily mean a successful large scale implementation of a reverse image search approach. Imitation is the best form of flattery then? Thanks for dropping by!

  • Google sucks in everything they do…
    Their image search have a lot of bugs, the search engine changes every time without the user’s consent…

  • Go Tiny, GO!! Keep going with your awsome work. You have all your fan support because the service you give to us is the best every user can ask! :)

  • Hmm, I would consider going back to TinEye, but instead of improving it, here you guys are. Whining!!

    Google image search is much more integrated with google web search.
    For example : If I search for a picture of some “famous” person, google will tell me their name, TinEye doesn’t.

  • Why don’t you sell ads based on the names of the image when the results have non random names. Then you could make more money to stay competitive.