V263:How To Find Original Image Sources on Google

Sep 19, 2012 15 comments
Last week there was some talk about citing sources, particularly image sources, in blog posts, and how it's not being done enough.  On of the reasons is because it's so dang easy to re-pin and re-blog images on Pinterest and Tumblr, but it's not always easy to track down the original source for the image.

Until NOW!

Here's a magical secret that will change your lives!  Google has a function that allows you to knock in the URL of any image you find on the internet and it will try, and try mightily, to find where it came from.  Here's how to do it...

1. Here is an image from my 18th Century Shoes Pinterest board.  I pinned it from a Tumblr, but there was no additional information with it, and no link back to the original source.

2. Right click on the image and select "Copy Image URL."

3. Now in Google Images, the magic happens.  In the search box, on the right side, there is a little camera icon.  Click it...

4. Paste the URL into the box, and click Search.

5. Google will bring up a number of links for where our image appears.  Not all of them are good, but somewhere in there you may either find the original source directly, or a bread crumb to lead you to the original source.  In the case of this image, I found a bread crumb - "Historic Deerfield Museum."

6. When I searched "Historic Deerfield Museum" on Google, I found the collection and was able to search for "shoes," and bam, there they were...

7. The last thing to do is go back to my pin on Pinterest and edit the information to include what is on the original source listing, and also the link to get back to the original source.

That's all!  It's magic!


  1. Absolutely Brilliant! Thanks for posting this!!

  2. You can also drag and drop the image into the search bar. I <3 that functionality (but then, I’m a bit obsessive about finding original sources for my pins, because I want all the info I can find).

    1. clarification: into the Google Images search bar.

      Now, if only Google would add exclusion logic to image searches so that you can remove results from Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.

    2. This! It's so awesome! I really like this feature. It's more fun to drag it. :)

  3. You don't have to click the camera icon actually. I always just post the URL into my Google search bar, or sometimes only the image name if it's specific enough (like DMCI123454_XY) and come up with all results that include this image. What I hate about Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook is that they encrypt original image names with a random selection of letters and numbers that will end up in zero search results....

  4. This is really a great tool but it wouldn't be any help if someone rehosts the photo. So, even the end cite may not be the real source. But this is definitely a step in the right direction! I'm glad more people are realizing how important this is.

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  6. Great tool, definetely usable...didn't know this. Thanks! :)

  7. Thank you, this was so helpful!!

  8. Just in case you are curious about more costume related searches and how to conduct them:

    :-) Google is trying to improve their image search - it doesn't work very well if you change the colors of the object but not the shape and other such things where the human eye can see it's the same but the computer can't. We'll see how good it gets.

  9. This is so good. I always do my best to post where I find info and photos but I'm not always sure that I have found the original source. This will be a great help (if I can remember it!)

  10. Fabulous- I simply hate re-pinning or including other's images in a blog post because of this very reason you never know who the original source really is. Thanks for sharing this useful tip! Janine from lesleysgirlsvintage.com

  11. I read this blog post when you published it and although I thought it was cool I didn't immediately think much of it. Then I remember this GORGEOUS dress I saw on Pinterest that didn't link back to anything. I've been fawning over this dress for months (I'm not engaged but I kind of want to get married in it because I love it that much). And now I know where I can buy it - for $300 (which is still tremendously cheap for a wedding dress if I could convince my parents that it would be a good investment...). Thank you! P.S.: http://www.goldwo.com/gossip-girl-fashion-cap-sleeves-empire-waist-satin-chiffon-maxi-celebrity-dress-p682.html

  12. I use something called QuickPin! which is available in the Google Chrome Webstore. If you hover over a Pinterest Image, a magnifying glass which says search comes up on the right side of the image. If you click on that search icon, it opens up a google image search for the Pinterest Image which you have clicked on, in another window. Often I will pin an image just to search it. I love using this!


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