Competitive intelligence tool review: TinEye

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It probably is not going to be of much real use in competitive intelligence, but it does look like fun and the technology is impressive.

Two scenarios spring to mind where TinEye might be useful.

  1. You have acquired a photo of a competitor's product, perhaps seen in the wild as part of their early product testing, and want to know what it might be.
  2. You have seen an image of the competitor's product out of context and, again, want to identify it.

Let us test TinEye with three images.

1. A battery pack from the Toyota Prius.

Taking this image, found randomly when searching Google Images, and inserting its URL into TinEye, finds exactly what we need.

2. An Intel Core 2 Duo CPU.

TinEye also identifies correctly this image of an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU without the name written on it.

3. An Airbus A380 wheel.

This image of the wheel of an Airbus A380 is also easily identified by TinEye.

So, TinEye got it right every time. The technology is amazing - TinEye does not rely on the filename or metadata of the image (you can upload an image with a non-revealing name). Sadly though, I cannot think of any time when I would actually have used this search engine. Theoretical scenarios, yes, but real ones where this would have been useful, no.

PS We previously mentioned TinEye in our May update of competitive intelligence tools.

TinEye scores

Usefulness: 2/10

Ease of use: 10/10

Comprehensiveness: 10/10

Overall score: 6/10