Today’s focus is on over 15 online tools that enable finding people by face matching. A topic probably more relevant now than a year or so ago, due to the proliferation of AI, which could make the task of finding somebody online both easier and more confusing (see deepfakes). And certainly a large portion of the OSINT market that just keeps on growing.
Traditional reverse images searching using popular search engines has been producing consistently poor results if you search for persons other than known celebrities or those whose photos are available in every corner of the Internet.
Face recognition is a controversial topic and immediately brings to mind visions of totalitarian control, CCTV cameras tracking our every move and the abuse of biometric technologies by the military, police and big corporations. The reality of day to day use in business and tech is somewhat different, since automated face recognition systems are widely use in financial services to comply with “know your customer” regulations and as anti-fraud measures.
This time I’m listing only web-based tools with a handy GUI. Some of the products below are not free – but as is often the case, free tools are not on par with tailored and marketed paid products, developed using significant budgets and expertise.
If you want to accuracy in reverse face searching, you might have to pay for it. So let’s take a look.
- Alamy Stock Photo – only good for checking if images are stock photos. Can be useful for detecting suspected fake accounts, generic content on scam websites and more.
- Amazon Rekognition – as advertised on the website, Rekognition “offers pre-trained and customizable computer vision (CV) capabilities to extract information and insights from your images and videos”. It work on more than just faces, can also be used to compare similarities between two photographs.
- Azure AI Vision – similar to the one above, a comprehensive corporate product that also does optical character recognition (OCR) and spatial analysis.
- Beyne – a relatively new player on the market, the website does not give away too much, trying to create a pretext for scheduling consultation. Looks like it might some potential, but for now it’s an unknown.
- Clearview – a powerful tool used by law enforcement or government agencies, as well as some corporations. The company got in trouble in multiple jurisdictions for breaching privacy laws and fined tens of millions. See more here.
- Espy – this tools seems to be part of a wider OSINT toolkit. I have never tested it personally, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a go.
- FaceCheckID – a free tool that matches faces across dozens of platforms. At the time of writing, claims to be able to scan against over 560 million faces online. Results do and will vary, however. Requires robust testing, but from my interactions with it, the accuracy of face matches can often have a high ount of false positives.
- FacePlusPlus – seems to have a use case mainly in business settings, unclear if the technology is being made available to individual clients. Still, offers some interesting solutions.
- FindClone – used to be a great resource for searching the russian Internet for a small fee, but that was before the 2022 aggression on Ukraine. Client signups and payments for the service have been made difficult due to sanctions against the russian regime.
- Kairos – markets itself as an “ethical vendor”. Seems to be angled more towards business and customer verification rather than OSINT out in the wild.
- Karma Decay – designed specifically for Reddit. Good idea but somewhat poor execution, the tool seems to be permanently stuck in the beta version mode. Did not see much success with it when testing.
- Pictriev – another free tool with some potential but right now it seems fairly poor, like an unfinished project abandoned half way.
- Pimeyes – decent but also relatively expensive. Forewarned by the Clearview debacle, Pimeyes stopped indexing social media profiles. Still it can produce some good matches, but it used to be more powerful in the past.
- SauceNAO – another well intended product but with fairly bad results, unfortunately.
- Search4Faces – decent for searching VK, OK, TikTok and Clubhouse, but be ready to see a rather high rate of false positive matches. Free and accessible easily, so that’s a big plus.
- VK Watch – specifically for searching V Kontakte, average enough but it can produce results when photos fed into it agree with the predefined parameters.