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This article was published on May 19, 2012

10 realtime and reliable photo search engines

10 realtime and reliable photo search engines
Adam Vincenzini
Story by

Adam Vincenzini

Adam Vincenzini is the head of digital at London-based PR and social media agency, Paratus Communications. If you have spotted a new social Adam Vincenzini is the head of digital at London-based PR and social media agency, Paratus Communications. If you have spotted a new social media tool or web app that you'd like him to review, send him an email. Check out his personal blog at

Thanks to services like Twitter and Instagram, and the global ‘smartphone saturation’ phenomenon, live reporting from big events has never been easier.

No longer do we have to rely on professionals to deliver content and images from these events, we have our extended social networks doing this for us. And, because so many of these updates get fired into the ‘public’ timeline, virtually any update from anywhere can be found and shared in a matter of seconds.

But, with all of this content creation happening, who is making sense of it, giving it some order and structure? You, of course. But, while we’ve taken to ‘leisurely’ content curation on platforms like Pinterest, ‘real-time content curation’ hasn’t been embraced with the same passion.

With the London Olympics on our doorstep, expect to see ‘real-time photo curation’ explode into popularity and we’ve got some tools to help you be at the forefront of this revolution.

10 ‘real-time’ photo search engines

1. – If you conduct your own search for ‘real-time photo search engines’ this is likely to appear pretty high, even though it doesn’t appear to be promoted as heavily as it was about 12 months ago. Take a look at the example ‘LeBron’ (LeBron James) search as an example of the results you get back. NachoPhoto combines ‘professional’ potography with ‘user-generated’ results better than anyone else out there.

2. – This service takes most of its results from the public Twitter timeline and allows you to pick and choose the best user-generated photos being published in real-time. It also gives you the ability to narrow these results down by location. Boom!

3. – If you are after the best of Twitter and Instagram, then Twitcaps is the service for you. While the interface is a little rough around the edges, it delivers a true real-time photo discovery experience.

4. – The unique element of PicFog is its minute-by-minute time-stamping functionality, letting you know exactly when each image was uploaded. This can give you and your curation efforts a big competitive advantage.


5. – One of the best Twitter pics search engines, Twicsy offers a handy ‘in the last hour’ search filter which can help hugely in your real-time curation efforts. You can even get your hands on pre-set widgets which will serve up images from specific user accounts in real-time.

Best of the rest

Here are five other options we recommend checking out:

6. Topsy Image Search – The image-specific section of the popular Twitter search engine.

7. – Real-time discovery of ‘hashtagged’ images.

8. – Aggregates images from the major real-time networks in an easy-to-navigate manner.

9. Flickr Latest Photos Search – A ‘hidden’ search option but one worth bookmarking for Flickr image searches.

10. Social Mention Photo Search – is one of the world’s most popular general social media search tools but not many people are aware of its real-time image search function. Simply head to the homepage, search in ‘images’ only and then sort by ‘last hour’ uploads and voila!

gualtiero boffi via shutterstock

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