Category: TinEye

TinEye: What’s in a name?


Many of you have asked us where the name “TinEye” originated. We’ll give you a quick hint: ROBOTS.

We at Idée love robots, machines, and all things mechanical. In fact, our office is filled with mechanical friends!

So a little history: back in 2000 when we were brainstorming cool names for our image recognition technology, it was no surprise that robots came to mind. Not just any robots, but those awesome tin toy robots of yore.

Yes, futuristic robots trump our human abilities in so many ways: their tin arms are stronger, their tin brains are faster, and their ‘tin eyes’ are keener…

Et voilà, the birth of TinEye! Well not really, as when we registered TinEye in the year 2000 – oh that has a nice ring to it – there was no TinEye, no reverse image search engine and no image recognition breakthroughs yet. There was a team, excited about changing image search.

We love our reverse image search engine name today but back then, had you been a participant in our brainstorming sessions you would have seen a polarized and totally divided team. Seriously who calls a search engine TinEye? Doesn’t the expression “tin ear” mean insensitive to music or subtleties in certain situations. If we called our reverse image search engine TinEye, wouldn’t we send the wrong message right out of the gate? And so did the conversations go… and go… and go… until we bit the bullet because we have a CTO who is obsessed with image search and when he becomes obsessed with a name, well it is game over for the rest of us!

TinEye’s “eyes” may be faster and keener than us mere mortals when it comes to finding image matches in billion image collections, but there are some things that human eyes can still do better! Like choosing the right colour palette to suit the mood of an image, or knowing just where to crop a photo to make it “pop”. TinEye on the other hand is laser focused on being the best reverse image search engine possible.

Fast forward to today: TinEye is the best reverse image search engine in the world (that’s what our fans tell us!) and TinEye has entered your search vocabulary in “hey, TinEye that image.”

For those of you wondering if we were inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy: the story is awesome and the Tineyes in it are neat, but no, Mistborn was not even written when we picked our name. Bright minds think alike?

And there you have it, the etymology of our little robot TinEye!

Some shots from around the office…

[Photography by Melina]

Google + colour searching

Well it is about time that the Google folks mimicked the Canadian search giants – yes, that us! Google introduced colour search to image searching. Nice. Of course it will be awesome! Still no multicolour on Google but you can try a simple hack to get the poor man’s multicolour on Google: search for a colour using a keyword (for example blue sky) and pick a different colour from the drop down. Voila! No great image search results but hey it is a start…

Now if you want the play with the real deal in multicolour searching head over to the Idée lab!

Love how a blog post on LifeHacker about Google’s colour search moves into a full discussion of Idée’s technologies namely: TinEye and Multicolor search. Fun times in the Ideeplex!

Passion at work

From Mavericks at work

“.. in business, as in basket ball, the smart take from the strong – that the best way to outperform the competition is to outthink the competition.. ” and it’s the “..mavericks do the work that matters most – the work of originality, creativity, and experimentation..” totally driven by passion!

Which makes me really excited about the sold out Refesh event on Monday: where passion meets ignite presentations!

We will start the evening with a passion presentation by Peter Flaschner followed by 6 Ignite presentations and since I am the last one that evening (and it is Monday too!), I will make my TinEye Ignite presentation extra tasty!

StayFresh: 7 PM – 10 PM, Centre for Social Innovation @ 215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 120 (Map)

Ignite Speakers:

Photograph (c) marfis75

TinEye – the debunker of fake photos!

Well TinEye is a myth debunker! He is a fake photo buster. A couple of days ago the UK Telegraph reported that there was perhaps a giant snake lurking in the Borneo river but Mark Frauenfelder from BoingBoing smelled a doctored photograph:

Via BoingBoing: My unexpert analysis concludes that these photos of a 100-foot long river snake from Borneo are as phony as a politician’s smile.

Well yes, they are. Fromage who is a TinEye user pointed out that the photograph was a fake and that one of the original photograph could be found here. Here is a link to the entire TinEye result set.



I have the feeling somebody in the Ideeplex is going to get this lovely T-Shirt. So many robots, so much fun. I am looking forward to TinEye joining the robot armada soon and this little tshirt will need to be updated again; because TinEye is a super hero now!

Fancy pants robots

What’s the secret behind For Tax Reasonsterrific work? They
make those fancy animations with hard labor coerced from underpaid,
non-union robots. Robots with simmering resentments that might! just!
blow! up! Ah… I knew we were not the only ones using robots! I flew from Seattle to San Francisco on Virgin America and this video just totally cracked me up. And yes the entertainment on Virgin includes Boing Boing videos. How cool is that? Oh Air Canada how I would love you to steal a page from the Virgin book.