Google unveils "Google Goggles" visual search

08 Dec 09

Mobile phone users running Google Android can now download a new application that allows them to find out more information about a landmark or object simply by taking a photo of it.

Google Goggles works by pinpointing the location of a photo with the GPS and digital compass information available on most Android capable phones, and comparing the photograph against Google's vast image database. The software is able to recognise famous landmarks, tourist attractions, books and even wine. From that information, the phone’s web browser will then implement a Google search about that object.

Google Goggles also enables a user to see search links relating to businesses in the phone’s field of view.

“Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words," said Shailesh Nalawadi, product manager for Google Goggles to The Telegraph. "For many search queries, using an image to search is easier and more useful than text alone, especially on a mobile phone. Computer-vision technology is still in its infancy, but Goggles demonstrates its potential.

"We are hard at work extending our recognition capabilities. You can imagine a future where visual searching is as natural as pointing your finger."

Google Goggles is available now on the Android Marketplace, and is an example of augmented reality technology. Augmented reality combines real-world images with computer-generated imagery or data, and consumers can look forward to more widespread use of AR as smartphone technology matures.

Click here for a demonstration of Google Goggles.

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