Google’s Best-Kept Secret Tool

By Hafsa Quraishi

For the past few years, whenever there has been a hurricane, there is always one photograph that is circulated widely throughout social media: a doctored picture of a shark swimming in the streets. At first glance, it looks believable. However, how do you make sure it’s a real photo, and not photoshopped? Google’s best-kept secret is the answer.

With the widely accessible technology available nowadays, it’s ever so easy to mess with photos and alter them to look like something they’re not. Luckily, verification tools are available to assist in verifying images. Tools such as TinEye and Google Reverse Image Search exist to do just that.

Google Reverse Image Search is relatively simple to use. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to debunk fake news, using your own computer.

Step 1. Go to Google Images, at images.google.com

This page is essentially the same as the web search page, except for the ‘Images’ under the Google logo. In the search bar, you’ll find a camera icon. Click that to see how you can import photos.

Step 2. Import your photo.

There are three ways to import photos.

1. Paste the image URL into the search bar. You can get the image URL by right clicking the image.

2. Upload the file from your hard drive.

3. Drag the image from your desktop, onto the search bar.

Step 3. Check the results to see where the photo originates from.

Journalists can use the Google Reverse Image Search tool to verify information, by finding the original source of the image, and seeing when it was first published on the internet. They can also check similar images that have been published, even if they’ve been cropped or resized.

By using this tool, they’re going an extra step further in their fact-checking process and solidifying their credibility in making sure they’re not spreading any misinformation. Others can also use this tool, to find the artist of a certain painting or the original photographer of an image.