we don't quite have this down yet but let's launch it anyway -- part 3

Cognitive dissonance: Google reverse image search is touted as a way to find image B that looks like image A.
Yet, at the same time, image recognition technology is widely known as "not there yet" -- algorithms are so unsophisticated that security capchas routinely ask you to pick photos of pasta, or mountains, out of a grid of images because a robot can't do it.

Previously we've posted examples where Google reverse image search failed amusingly. (1 / 2) At that time, Google had a face-saving "tip" that you might improve the search by adding text words to the query. (E.g., "Green tiger striped Venus de Milo" or "five-tentacled alien with string of jade pearls.")

Lately, it seems, Google has decided to add those word suggestions for you, based on what their algorithm thinks you've posted. This can limit the search in ways that are not helpful.

Let's say you see a tattoo online that you know is based on a comic strip panel, and you want to see if the original art is treated as a "similar image."


If you paste the URL for the tattoo into Google Image Search, Google says (essentially) "we think this is a tattoo"  and takes you to a results page that has the word "tattoo" pre-entered in the search field. You see a grid of supposedly "similar" images, but they are all tattoos because that word is controlling the search. If you remove the word nothing happens -- it's still the same grid. Searching "line art" or "clip art" still restricts you to tattoo pics.

So you try converting the image to black and white using an image editor, thinking it might get around the mandatory tattoo filter and locate "similar" line art.


Foiled again! Google guesses that this is an "animal" and takes you to a results page with that word pre-entered in the search field.
Now, you are restricted to searching manually in a vast array of animal line drawings.

And yet, reverse image search isn't treated as a "beta" program with major flaws; Google launched it as a "ready for prime time" utility.

PS: With or without reverse image search, I never did find an online version of Kaz's "Grim Chicken Reaper" drawing, from his '90s Underworld comic strip, but this text turned up: