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TinEye

May 24, 2008

Within the past 24 hours invites have started going out for the TinEye beta. Having been lucky enough to receive one, I’ve spent a wee bit of time playing with it (at least 20 minutes) and think I’ve found a few possible uses for it, some personal, some school based…

I should start by explaining what TinEye actually does. It is a means of finding where a particular photo appears on the web. To do this, you can either upload a picture from your computer, or type in a URL and then leave TinEye to go and search for you. Where it gets clever is that it is comparing the images rather than the file names, so you don’t get too many false positives. It sounds simple, but the maths is bound to be immensely complicated…
The picture on the left is a grab of the search results. What really impressed me was the ability to find partial matches… and a quick look at the TinEye ‘Cool Searches‘ shows that the ‘…for Dummies’ series of books generates the greatest number of ‘hits’ (so far). And this suggests that there are some really clever algorithms involved if it’s comparing shapes/colours/proportions… this could be an art/design/maths teacher’s dream for finding comparisons… not to mention the ability to identify derivative works from your own originals (or vice versa). Or how about a history lesson where you take the ‘Your Country Needs You‘ poster and trace the derivatives from it…

Where Did I Find It Again?

I’m really bad for finding clever photos/pictures on the web, saving them to my Mac and then losing the source info if I want to use the image in a presentation… NOT ANY MORE! I’ve already found 3 out of 4 images by using the search… I’m very happy! And this personal use made me realise that it does have the potential for some classroom use. As we move towards asking pupils to create more presentations and other artefacts, we need to stress the need for attribution of the work. With TinEye, we have a tool to allow us to check these, or add them if the pupil hasn’t.

Feel free to add any more uses you think of…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 25, 2008 11:22 am

    That’s quite a good idea, and yeah I’m sure there’s some rather hardcore maths and algorithms behind it!

    Yes, I suppose there is some scope for school use. How would do you find out who has the original copy for attribution? But as tech becomes more widely used, with people making more use of the intertubes for presentations and such, I’m sure it’ll be important, particularly for the older pupils.

    I see the main use, of the idea anyway, will be copyright holders looking for infringement, though I’m sure they already do that – professional photographers and so on.

    It would be good for finding comparisons and similar images though as you say, for example discussing shapes in maths, or parabolas or something, and then finding a real life use of it. Would be rather cool 🙂

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