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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Google Goggles- Hard to say 5 times fast, but easy to use in surprising ways

Mobile (phone) apps are all the rage with kids these days. There are apps that play games, apps that change the look of photos and apps that find great restaurants anywhere you happen to be standing.

And now, there's Google Goggles. A new phone app for the Android, iPhone and Blackberry and others.

Not very descriptive name, I'll admit. But when you hear what the app can do, you'll be running to the computer to download it.
Think of Google Goggles as a visual search engine. One that uses your phone's camera to search the internet for answers.

Remember when your Mom said to look it up? Now, you can.
For example, if you're in a French restaurant and the menu is in French, but you don't speak a word of the language, what can you do? Simply start the GG app and take a photo of the paragraph of your interest. Google looks up the translation and converts the French into English (or the reverse!). The translation may not be perfect, but the result if close enough to make sense of what was nonsensical just moments before. It handles dozens of languages beyond those of the Francophile.


Let's say you're in Cincinnati Ohio and you see the famous statue in Fountain Square. "What statue?" I hear you say. Exactly- simply activate the GG App, take a photo of the statue and Google Goggles will search the web (based on your photo) to tell you the statue was installed in 1871 by Tyler Davidson. Didn't know that, did you?

The Fountain Square Statue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

You get a business card from a new sales contact but you know little about her. Once again, simply open the GG app, take a photo of the card's petinent information (phone number, person's name, etc.) and lo and behold, Goggles will look up the person and present all of the information available on the web to you in an attempt to aid your business efforts.

There are many more things Google Goggles can do: Look up books, wine labels, artwork, pretty much anything that presents a visual that can be captured by a camera is something GG can help you look up on the internet.

Pretty cool, no? Google doesn't say if people are on the list of available "look ups", but don't be surprised to see facial recognition somewhere down the road.

So, just in case- look in your webcam and smile!

Go here to see an explanation of Google Goggles.

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