How to Perform A Reverse Image Search With Google Images

Search pictures on Google using a reverse photo lookup process

You may know that Google Image Search can help you find a photo of something when you search for it. Here's a trick for those moments when you just need to know what an image is: You can use a reverse image search in Google Images to find the source of an image

What A Reverse Photo Lookup on Google Images Tells You

It depends on your source image. For example, you have a picture of an animal you shot with your camera on your desktop, and you have no idea what this animal is. You can try a reverse image search, and Google will attempt to find similar images. You might be able to identify your image. Sometimes you may even get results complete with a Wikipedia entry on the subject. Other images will pull up news stories or things that Google determines to be similar subjects, "cute baby animals," for example. 

Skip Normal Google Search; Go Directly To Google Image Search

Google image search camera icon

Google's Image Search is separate from standard Google searches. You can find it at 

One of the coolest things you can do with Google Images is to search in reverse. It's a little like doing a reverse phone number lookup, only with an image. All you have to do is click on that camera icon in the Google Images search box. 

Search by Pasting In The URL

Screen capture

That should open up a box similar to what you see in this screen capture. Notice that it is offering you three ways to search by image. 

The first method: paste the URL of an image in the window. This is handy if you have a Flickr image or someone has been tweeting a meme. Find the URL of the image itself. You can usually get this by right-clicking on the image and selecting "copy image URL." Note that Google won't search by image if you paste in a URL for a private website, so this won't work to find the origin of that Facebook meme, for example. 

It will work if you download that image from Facebook first, however. (On a side note, if you're downloading images people have shared privately with you on Facebook, please be mindful of how you use those images.) 

Use Drag-and-Drop From Your Computer

Google Images drag and drop

That brings us to search method number two. If you have an image on your desktop, you can drag the image into the search box

Tip: Drag-and-drop works well in Chrome. It does not work at all in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge; other browsers are hit-or-miss.

Use Voice Image Search Commands

Google Image search microphone icon

If drag-and-drop doesn't work, you can use method number three and click the microphone for a voice search. Once you do that, you can browse for an image by simply stating the image you're seeking.

Note: This process does not search your desktop for images; it goes directly to the internet search.