List of Picture Search Engines

by B.T. Alo

Search engines have become an integral part of the Internet. Much of our Internet activity revolves around searching for information using a search engine. Although general purpose search engines can and do return websites with photos in their search results, specific image search engines returning only images in their searches are better suited for this job. Luckily, most general purpose search engines do include an image search function. Besides those, there are also many dedicated picture search engines out there, developed solely to serve this purpose.

Google Images

Google’s popularity as a search engine is unmatched. To "google" something has become a widely used verb for searching something over the Internet. Just like Google Web search, the search giant’s image search offering doesn’t disappoint. It indexes images on the Web using keywords based on the file name, its link text and any text adjacent to the image, which works quite efficiently for most images. The SafeSearch mode ensures the filtering of explicit images. Since October 2009, a feature to find similar images has also been added.


Picsearch is a Swedish search engine developed by a company that powers multimedia search services for many large websites such as and Lycos. Picsearch as a public search engine features a dedicated image search using its own patent-pending algorithms. It is a family-friendly picture search engine and does not display material unsuitable for view by minors, using an advanced filtering system. The site features the four most popular image searches of the week on its home page, and an advanced search page allows for searching images based on size, orientation, color, and choosing to display animated, still or both types of images.


Founded by ex-Microsoft technologists in 2005, Pixsy is a company primarily offering business-to-business image and video syndication services for applications and websites. Pisxy also operates a public search engine for building and maintaining its index. A popular feature is the ability to search images as well as filter the results based on categories. The home page features focused top stories from popular image searches while listing overall top image searches as well as those in a few popular categories.


TinEye is quite a distinctive image search engine, offering different services from all the others mentioned above. It is a reverse image search engine, actually allowing you to upload an image file or enter an image’s Web address and then searching the web for images similar to that one, using advanced visual search and image recognition technologies, as showcased in its Idée Labs. Plug-ins are available to integrate this functionality with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome Web browsers.

About the Author

B.T. Alo is media director, chief writer and editor for a U.S.-based marketing and consulting firm. He holds a bachelor's degree in business and communications. Alo's interests include business, investments, electronics, personal finance, health, communication, popular trends and travel.

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