I’m not a vindictive person, nor a hostile one, nor a man who’s easily rattled. I don’t give pause to consider ever wrong doing, nor the first to put up my hand for recognition even when it’s due, and that’s probably true for many if not most of you. But theft of work is an irritant. A photograph is a photographer’s bread and butter, the product of their labor, their life’s work in many cases, and that labor is typically time away from family and friends, making it even more personal; so that there are those out there who would see an image, like it, then take it without permission, nor credit given, possibly to profit from monetarily, can cut a bit deep. The problem with this, however, is there’s not really any stopping it, and how would you know it’s going on even if it was?
Well, many of you should be aware by now of Google’s reverse image search, which lets you upload an image which it will analyze and scour the interwebs for its likeness and show you where that image or similar ones are being used. It’s good, and it works, even if not entirely efficient, but that’s where PhotoTracker Lite comes in. It’s an image search extension for your web browser that lets you easily search if your work is being used inappropriately and or without your consent. Unlike operating solely through Google’s reverse image search, users can search multiple sources at once and it can be done with a single click.
Once you have the extension installed you’ll notice a little green icon with a magnifying glass in the bottom right corner of any image you hover the pointer over, and by default the clicking of which will open various new tabs each using a different source to search for other uses of your image online. All of this is, of course, customizable and you can even remove the little icon from showing up and choose to have the new tabs open in the foreground or background and more, though I’ve found the default settings favorable.
After using it for a little while I can definitely say this is thus far the easiest method I’ve used to do reverse image searches, making the task that much more pleasa… no, pleasant isn’t the word, not when you see companies using your images to sell their products and services without permission, but it makes it quick and easy. Just for sh*ts and giggles I searched for a few images used from my gear reviews and found them littered all over the web, so if you do the same I’d prepare for that. What you do if and when you find them is entirely your prerogative, but check out PhotoTracker comes in, and you can ]check it out and try it here.
Note* – I’ve noticed in recent months that Google’s reverse image search has been less effective in finding images, and generally better results have been found if you have an image with a random file name than with particularly assigned tags/alt text.