Any image you see online can be easily copied and put somewhere else online and there’s not much you can do about it. Google recently updated their image search to allow you to search for images similar to one that you upload or one that is already online.
Here’s their video for it: (the drag-and-drop kinda made my jaw drop)
Most of us use the same set of pictures for our avatars and profile pics online. I put a few of the profile pics I’ve used into Google’s new image search to see where those photos showed up online. I used this one – taken at Fisherman’s Wharf with Ron and his dad after exploring the retired sub USS Pamapnito on a hot summer day:
This had been my Facebook profile picture for quite a while and I use it on Twitter and Gravatar and Disqus. So I uploaded the image into Google’s new image search. The first few pages of results were as expected: my blogs, profiles and avatars across social networks and blogs. No big schmeal. But on the third page of search results was this gem:
Which led to a blog about cross tattoos with lots of keyword stuffing and links to affiliate-based products and crap:
Now I’m totally pro-tattoo and am planning a nice Celtic/polynesian blend shoulder or chest plate, but this is bullshit. I left a comment to that effect, it’s still awaiting moderation:
Here’s how you can do the same:
- Find one of your profile photos – either the URL to it if it appears online or your local copy on your hard drive.
- Go to http://images.google.com/
- Drag-and-drop the image onto the search bar. Google churns a bit and then returns search results containing that image (and images of similar composition and palette).
- If someone is impersonating you, let ‘em have it.
And for those singles out there – this will also be useful to anybody that has personals profiles out there.
Update: I’d emailed the email address in the WHOIS record for this domain. The site is currently down.