I'm curious about the etymology (aka "origin") of this image I found on the web:

scarface snowman

How would I go about finding the earliest websearch result for this image?

Yes, I can use TinEye to find other instances of the image (253 for the record, but not all of them are actual matches), but I want the earliest, first, and possibly original place this image appeared on the internet. In other words, where on the web did this image originate?

I suppose I can search for something like scarface snowman in Google, and perhaps set the "custom date range" on the advanced search Google options in the left sidebar like so:

Custom [date] range...

From: 5/1/1989
To: 1/1/2007

... and then keep manually adjusting 1/1/2007 "up" until I get the first hits for this phrase in time. When I do that, I get to 1/1/2010 and find this result:


Which Google dates as Dec 20, 2009. However, I'm not confident this is the first time the image appeared on the web; it's just the first time the phrase appeared on the web. It is a start but not much more.

How else can I find out the origin of this image via web search or web apps? Is there any other better way?


1 Answer 1


There's every chance you can't find the original, since it may have been posted to a site from which it was later removed, or which automatically purges old posts, or which has shut down in the intervening years. Search-engines and archive.org cache a lot of old content after it has been removed, but they don't catch everything, and as you've discovered, aren't really set up to find the original sources of anything.

Sometimes the best you can do is find the biggest version of the image, which is fairly straightforward with TinEye - just choose the "Biggest Image" sorting option, look down the list to find the biggest version that's a proper match, discarding any that are only big due to extra borders, or which appear to have been scaled up. For you example, the biggest, sharpest version appears to be the one on this page: http://cavemancircus.com/2010/01/08/tony-montana-loves-him-a-snowman/

That version has a slightly later date than yours (and the text certainly implies that it was found, rather than created by the author), but it does appear to be a closer descendent of the original - possibly the closest you'll still find on the Internet.


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