If you ever used a duplicate file search tool that not only failed to find actual duplicates but in fact targeted files that weren't duplicates, you'll be able to appreciate Image Search Pony. This free tool searches for, compares, and targets duplicate images based on their visual data, creating highly accurate matches that make it possible to identify duplicates by size, resolution, and format. It presents files side by side for comparison and deletes duplicates when you tell it to, or you can uncheck duplicates to retain both copies. It searches multiple directories, including subfolders.
Image Search Pony uses a commendably simple Explorer-type interface. We browsed to a source folder in the lower left corner, and Image Search Pony scanned it and its subfolders. The program eventually filled the right-hand panel with a series of grouped thumbnails and file data, each entry with a check box, half of which were preselected. Clicking any thumbnail opened a larger view in a preview pane above the file selector. Scrolling through the grouped images, it was obvious that most were duplicates, even without a glance at the pixel count and file size. We reviewed many selections in the preview pane and found no misidentified images. We simply deleted those we didn't want and kept those we did, checking and unchecking as we liked. We could cut, copy, paste, and move duplicates to the trash, and the Options tab let us choose from several autoselect options or to list all files. But that's about all there is to this effective, easy-to-use application.
Years ago, a tool like Image Search Pony would be used to reclaim disk space, but with today's terabyte disks, its primary mission is to weed out duplicates so you won't waste your time when going through your images in the future. For that job, it's one of the best tools we've used. It's thorough yet careful, avoiding the mistakes that less sophisticated programs still make when sifting unsuspecting users' archives.