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Google Goggles on my Droid

Google Goggles uses pictures to search the web. This conjures visions of magic glasses that  capture the world around you and flash back info right through the magic glasses. Anyone remember the tv show Romper Room? I really, truly believed that the magic mirror was real.   Well Google Goggles is indeed real and it’s kind of what I was imagining it to be, sans glasses.

It currently runs on Android mobile devices and takes advantage of the great camera, GPS and tight integration with all things Google.

Open up the Goggles app, take a picture of product, a logo, a book – and the search tries to find something about the items in the image. I’ve been testing it out with odds and ends of stuff around my office. First up, a big bottle of handcream  that I keep on my desk – it recognized the logo and took me to the product’s web site. The search on the actual text on the bottle was not relevant though.

Google Goggles searchBook cover photos turn up pretty good results, ranging from links to titles in Google Books, price comparison info, links to related web sites and in some cases, links to author info and an option to add the author to your contacts list. Pretty nifty. One book cover search even turned up a website with the exact image that was on the book cover. This will be far more useful in a bookstore than the Droid’s bar code scanning app, since bookstores often cover a book’s ISBN bar code with their own UPC bar code. Caution, you can get different results from photos of the same cover taken at different angles.

google goggles searchFor library customers, this will be great for finding info about books, dvds and other library materials while browsing the shelves.

Goggles did have trouble recognizing logos on pens and other office products on my desk. It seemed to have trouble focusing on smaller text. But I can forgive it, I do too.

What I haven’t checked out yet is the landmarks feature. Point the camera at a building and the GPS is supposed to find where you are and give you info about your surroundings. Augmented reality anyone? I’ll try this out next time I get away from my desk. I feel like I’m finally get my magic mirror on the world.

For some more examples of Google Goggles in action, see CNET’s recent article:
A real-world test of Google Goggles visual search

13 Comments

  1. polly says:

    New blog post: Google Goggles on my Droid – Google Goggles uses pictures to search the web. This conjures visions o… http://ow.ly/16emqw

  2. pollyalida says:

    p.s. One down side, google goggles seems to be a bit of battery hog. It drained my battery pretty quickly.

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  8. gretchen says:

    i agree, fun app! i wish that it could also link directly into my library’s catalog (hint hint developers) since i don’t always want to BUY something.

  9. Bleh – it won’t work on my phone – which is still version 1.5 – guess I need to try and find an update!! But still – awesome title choice :)

  10. Jim Peterson says:

    Romper Room! I loved that show. Thanks for making me feel old! Oh, and I’m going to be lusting after a Droid for the next 2 years. AT&T = FAIL!

  11. pollyalida says:

    Nicole – thought you might think that was a good test choice! :-) It picked up your name correctly from the cover, but it kept giving Jenny’s as “irvine” not “levine”. Wonder why your phone doesn’t have the latest software? I’m sure I didn’t do anything in particular to get mine updated.

  12. pollyalida says:

    It would be really great if there was a way to get library info easily. It’s not hard to get into worldcat via this route, but my local libraries aren’t in there.

  13. pollyalida says:

    Sorry Jim, didn’t mean to make you feel old! :-) Me too though.