How To Find Similar Images Using Google’s Image Search

Saikat Basu 13-04-2011

google image searchMy job as an editor and writer for MakeUseOf requires a constant search for images. Needless to say, I have quite a few links stashed away in my bookmarks folder. But it is often that I turn to Google Image Search to track down that elusive graphic.


Like all Google products, Google Image Search has continuously been tweaked and improved. The latest change comes to the Google Similar Images option. Google has put in a feature that now you can use to search for similar images across a single site. This is basically an improvement of Google’s site: operator which limits your searches to a particular domain.

But how does it help us exactly and what are the uses you can put this small improvement too? Let’s find out.

Google Similar Images: The Usual Run

Most of us are familiar with the process that goes into searching for similar images. Go to Google Image Search and type in a keyword for the image you are searching for. Next, it’s just a matter of mouse-over a specific image (for which you want similar images) and clicking on the Similar link.

google image search

Here’s what you get – a whole gallery of similar images to pick and choose from. Once you get the similar images, you can go for More Sizes and check out the other dimensions that are available.


google advanced image search

Similar Images: Do a Google Image Search

To come back to the search update, you can use the similar search function as a combination with the site: operator. Use the operator as normally would. Let’s say: linux. As you can see from the screenshot below, the gallery of images now are closer (or similar) to the base image.

google advanced image search

The Advanced Search options also allow you to specify a domain and limit your search to a single site. But using it from the address bar saves you a few clicks and is definitely the easiest way to get that perfect image. But definitely dive into it if you need the other options available there.


google advanced image search

Some Uses You Can Put It Too…

Taking a cue from Digital Inspiration’s article on the same subject, you can use the new feature to search for magazine covers across a domain like I am using it to look for a variety of images which I can use as ‘album covers’ for my personal MP3 collection.

How To Find Similar Images Using Google's Image Search Google Image Search05

Google has also updated the index of similar images, so now you’ll find more recent results. That’s great if you are searching for images from newsworthy events. Especially, searching for a familiar celebrity (Of course, you will have a wider sweep if you remove the site: operator). The Official Google Blog demonstrates with Lady Gaga.


google image search

If you have any interest in gardening, the visual search by similarity is a great time saver when it comes to searching for a particular type of flower that you know only by color. It’s not perfect, but it helps to narrow down your options. The same logic applies to any other search distinguished by small differences.

Google Image Search represents one of the easiest ways to search for something visually. It can also be an exercise in creativity and fun. That’s what our previous post hinted at –

10 Tips to Have Fun Using Advanced Google Search for Images 10 Tips to Have Fun Using Advanced Google Search for Images Read More


Apart from these top-of-the-head ideas, do you have more creative ideas that we run through Google Image Search? Share them with us.

Related topics: Google Search, Image Search, Web Search.

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  1. Martineska
    April 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Saikat, thanks for the excellent tip. I too use Google Image Search on a regular basis and that feature definitely going to be very useful for me.