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How to Use Google Image Search to Identify Unknown Pictures on Puzzles

You may be asking yourself, how are we able to figure out the titles and names of the artists for a lot of the puzzles we sell? With no signed names and so many artists out there, it would seem like a puzzle!

Well, the answer is surprisingly simple, it’s this little secret search engine called Google. Okay, so we know Google is a secret to nobody, however, Google’s amazing Image Search feature is a lesser known part of Google that any collector of puzzles should be aware of. In fact, it’s an incredibly useful tool for all sorts of things that you might need to search by image (artwork, board games, just about anything!), but for the purposes of this blog, I am going to teach you how to use it for finding a puzzle image.

Note: This is going to cover using this on a laptop or desktop. It works very differently on a phone and is not really as powerful in my opinion as of this writing (This page is updated from time to time as Google changes things and info below is current as of November 2021).

So here it is…Finding that Puzzle Image in 5 Short Steps

Number 1

Open your web browser and go to https://images.google.com

Number 2

Click the camera icon

That will display a slightly different screen that looks like this:

Number 3

Click the Upload an Image tab

Number 4

You now have 2 ways to upload the image to Google:

1st way:
Click the “Choose File” button and find where your picture is saved:

2nd way:
Just drag and drop the image from the folder it is in near the green box in the image below (this is usually the easier way):

Number 5

Let Google do its magic and come back with results.
In this example we are using a picture of a puzzle by Grant Wood called “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”.
Tip: Image search works best when you have a nice cropped image without extra items in the picture, it is well lit and, well, just a good picture!
The larger image the better, so if you can take the picture in a higher resolution (at least 1000 pixels wide) you have a much better chance of getting good results.

 

Let’s dig a little deeper in understanding your results:

Take a look at the 3 components of the search results below.

A) Area highlighted in Green
This is the image you uploaded as well as some related search terms Google came back with. Depending on your results, you may also see a section called “Pages that include matching images” – this can be useful as you can see a thumbnail of the image to make sure it’s a good match.

B) Area highlighted in Pink
These are the typical search results related to the image. These are usually a good first start to make sure the image you have is the same one Google thinks you do. Note: Sometimes this section does not appear.

C) Area highlighted in Blue
This is another way to confirm if the image is correct. By clicking on “Visually similar images” there is a good chance you may find the image you are looking for in those results.

Bonus Hints and Tips

Not finding your image? Here are some tips:
1. Refine Search
After the initial search you can delete any text Google might have added (in the green section) and search again to help refine the results. For instance, if you knew the artist you could type the name or any other keywords you might do in a search to help Google. Things like “boat on a river in France” or “Dutch painting from 1800s” etc.

2. Start over
Take a better quality picture and redo the process

Obviously image search is a lot more complicated for a search engine than keywords, so it doesn’t always find the image, but I have had a pretty good success rate, however, it can take some patience trying different word combinations to help Google along sometimes. Other times you just strike out.

Good luck picture hunting!