7 Similarity Based Image Search Engines

SMS Text

I’ve been briefly over overviewing advanced image search tools previously. Today I focus on image search based on similarity. Visual similarity search stands for image search based on one (or several) of the following criteria:

  • color;
  • theme;
  • texture.

1. Tiltomo is a Flickr based tool that maintains its own database of Flickr images and allows to search images based on similar theme :

Similarity based on theme

or similar color palette and texture:

Similarity based on color and texture

2. Tineye.com (by Ideeinc.com) is a new online service allowing for reversed image search: unlike all existing image search engines it searches based not on keywords you submit but on images you upload. Its database is not that huge so far but it is growing fast.

The tool requires registration and searches for exact copy of the image provided:

Reversed image search

3. Byo image search (also maintained by Ideeinc.com) searches for similar images to the one you upload from your computer. The tool seems to be based on color search primarily but does include theme based algorithm:

BYO similarity search

4. Live.com allows to perform similarity search after the keyword search (you can choose to search for similar images of any individual image). The search seems not very accurate though but is something to try out nevertheless:

Live.com Similarity Search

5. Xcavator is a similarity based search engine for stock photography. The service is built and maintained by CogniSign and works similarly to Live.com (you first search by a keyword and than refine results by choosing one image and searching for its similar equivalents):

Xcavator Similarity Based search for stock photography

6. Incogna works really fast and seems to be based on both color and shape similarity.


7. Terragalleria uses visual similarity (regardless of the image content):

Terragalleria Similarity search

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
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  • Richard Wyndham


  • Don’t forget the Incogna visual search engine too: http://www.incogna.com

  • Oh yes they have also ‘Perfume search by ingredients’ scroll down a bit and pick your favorite notes.


  • OMG you do not have “Like.com”

  • I really like the products of Idee Inc. I can’t wait for the time the technology will be bought by google and embedded into google image search.

  • I really like the products of Idee Inc

  • From what I have found, there are a ton of great sites, (LTU is another great one that is not on the list), but my beef with them is if you want to compare an in house database, that you have to upload your images to the servers in most cases.
    I have a database of 5 million plus images that I needed to do a similarity search against, so I ended out writing my own library. (http://sites.google.com/site/imagecomparison/). I used to to power my iPhone App called eyeBuy, so if anyone is interested in using it, let me know and I’ll compile it for your specific platform (only built for the iPhone at the moment).

  • arif

    i try your lists, the good one is still tineye, another good image search engine is GazoPa, they have firefox addon too.

  • arif

    i try your lists, the good one is still tineye, another good image search engine is GazoPa, they have firefox addon too.