2017-07-28

Yandex Image Search and Google Image Search

Been a long time since I last posted. Can't say it'll happen more frequently, but this is a start.

https://yandex.com/images/ https://www.google.com/imghp

Both allow you to do a standard text description search. Both allow you to search for an image based upon one for which you have a known URL. Both allow you to upload an image to search. It's when you get to the results of the search that things differ.

I'm going to use the following test image which I uploaded from my computer; in this case I know the precise URL where I found it, although Calibre renamed it when using it to add a cover to the .rtf version of the book in my possession. Incidentally, the book is well worth reading.

I know, a pretty plebeian image, but since I don't have this blog set up behind a 21+ firewall, my choices are limited; if I didn't, I've got an image that I downloaded at least ten years ago, where I didn't record where I found it, didn't know the name of the model, who took the photo, where it was initially published, didn't know a thing about it other than that I thought the model was good looking, where Google couldn't find anything like it, but Yandex found the precise image with a bunch of sites, including a site with an entry on the model containing six photo shoot collections of around 90 images each; I now know the model's first name, went from three images to way too many, but know nothing much about her since the site Yandex found didn't provide that information; the site is natively in Russian, but has a drop down list of other languages to display in, including English. 

Moving right along...

First, the Google search. Rocinante cover, Google Image Search results 
Second, the Yandex search. Rocinante cover, Yandex Image Search results 

This was, perhaps, too easy an item to find. I may have to try this again with something more obscure.

Google didn't find the same resolution image, so it didn't declare a winner. It's best guess as to the identity of the image was spot on. The first site it listed was the actual source site. The related images were alternate cover images for the book, which indicates Google searched for related images by their best guess title, rather than items which featured things that looked like the submitted image. The first four sites listed as having matching images did, indeed, have matching images, while the final two sites were completely bogus. Only one of the sites which had a matching image was not owned by Wes Boyd; that site looked to be of interest to me, and I've now subscribed to their mailing list.

Yandex was much more confident about saying it had a match. It immediately offered a list of different resolutions for the image, with links to those images; this is something Yandex does for every image you select from those displayed in their search results, and I find this very useful. The related images section didn't come up with the alternate covers of the book, but instead images of aircraft similar to the one on the cover. This indicates their related image search is based upon an analysis of the submitted image to determine the main topic of the image, rather than the item the submitted image had been linked to. This is an important difference, and should be borne in mind when deciding which search engine to use. All six of the sites listed as having matching images did. All six sites are owned by Wes Boyd. Google didn't find as many sites owned by Wes Boyd, but did find the image at someone else's site.

Neither found the entry at LibraryThingGoodreads had the book listed, but showed one of the alternate covers; the only Wes Boyd book they listed where that was the case. FictionDB had the alternate cover. The Google Books entry didn't show. A whole bunch of others didn't show, including Nook and Kindle eBook stores.

Now to try again.
This is an image of the map of Middle Earth included with one of the hardcover editions of The Lord of the Rings published by Allen & Unwin lo these many years agone. 


Google, again, wasn't sure about it's identification, but it's best guess was pretty good. The two sites they list before showing related images were sites I already knew about as primo Middle Earth fan projects. The related images were spot on, all being similar maps of Middle Earth. Google then goes on with a bazillion hits for sites with matching images, I mean pages upon pages upon pages, leading off with five articles on the find of a copy of the map hand annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. And where possible, a small thumbnail of the image at that site appears to the left of the listing.

Yandex, again, was sure of it's identification, and offered a variety of resolutions for the image. The related images were spot on.  The sites listed as having matching images aren't organized the way Google's are, which may be good or bad; after all, the first five sites Google listed had basically the same information, while Yandex leads off with a Korean language Middle Earth fan site rich with maps. Of course, I didn't know it was Korean, and the translating software used by Chrome doesn't tell you what language is being translated from, which is a grievous lack, and the translated site didn't have anything saying it was based in Korea, except that in the About page it did list a problem at one time with the Palgong Port interface, and a search on Palgong determined that it was in South Korea. Yandex also includes a thumbnail of the image as part of each site listing, and continuing their focus on resolution, lists the resolution of the image at the bottom of then thumbnail.

Google is very good at finding information in your language, and geographically close by. This is because of all the information they collect about you, as the Internet Conspiracy Theorists rant about all the time; I think it's cool,  I generally get better results because of it. But there are times when that isn't what you want. It wasn't until the end of the thirteenth page of results that Google listed a non-English language site; Yandex lead off with one. However, Google did have those pages upon pages of sites, while Yandex only lists forty-three sites. And both of my example search objects were non-obscure; as I related at the beginning, I had an obscure Adult Model image in my collection that Google didn't have a clue about, that Yandex, given their far more aggressive delving into former Soviet countries resources, found.

If your interest lies in finding different resolution images, foreign language resources, or obscure Adult Model image information, Yandex is definitely the search engine to use. If you want localized information stick with Google, that's where they put their focus. There are other image search providers out there, but I haven't tried them out; it could be well worth your time checking them out, as I suspect each has differing strengths and weaknesses, and with proper investigation you would be able to select the best search engine for your specific research project. I know I'll be switching back and forth between Google and Yandex, just like when I'm looking for used books that were published in Scandinavia I search Antikvariat.net rather than AbeBooks, you choose the proper tool for the task at hand.

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