Google’s Goggles (not a typo)
Google continues to expand the range of services it offers its users. To date, if you wish to search the web you either type in your search terms, or speak them. Now they have added something I have wanted for ages – to search by an image alone.
The application is in the early stages of development, and so currently resides within their ‘Labs’ section on their web site. It allows you to take a photo with your mobile device, and then to search for information on it. For example, you could take a picture of a book cover and when you submit it you receive back links to reviews of the books and retail outlets who offer it at a good price. It also works in an art gallery if you take a photo of a picture – providing you have not been ejected by security for using your camera, you will receive the kind of information you would have had to purchase in the gallery’s guide book.
The same process works for business cards. Take the photo and you are invited to add it to your contacts database and clicking on the email address or phone number immediately opens up the associated application.
On holiday and looking at an interesting landmark? Take a photo, your GPS position and the direction you are facing will be sufficient, and get back the information you need. It works when you return home and find you have lots of holidays photos from previous holidays stored, but can’t identify all the places. Snap them with your phone and Google will tell you what they are photos of.
It is hoped that when it is released Goggles will recognise objects such as animals, plants, cars etc. Google even suggest if you take a picture of a chess set it will suggest the next best move. Such technology would have been dismissed by most as science fiction just a few years ago. If you have an Android-based phone (OS 1.6 and above) it is currently a free download from the Android app store, although multi-platform support is promised.
See my Vodpod section, bottom right of the page, for a demonstration.