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September 14, 2011

Google Goggles Makes Your Phone's Camera Smarter

Google Goggles is an application that's sometimes useful, but it's not good enough to use it every time you want to find something about an object. The Android app has a new feature that integrates it with the Camera app, uploads all the photos you're taking to Google's servers and shows notifications in the status bar if Goggles found something useful. It may sound spooky, but it makes your phone's camera smarter.

"With this new opt-in feature in Goggles, you can simply photograph an image using your phone's camera, and Goggles will work in the background to analyze your image. If your photo contains items that Goggles can recognize, the app will notify you," explains Google. The feature is disabled by default, but you can enable it from the settings page by choosing "Search from Camera".

It's probably a good idea to only enable this option when you're on vacation or when you're planning to photograph barcodes for products you want to buy. It's also useful if you're in a bookstore and you want to "bookmark" some books.

Google Mobile's help center informs that "each Goggles query consumes approximately 100 KB of data" and you can limit the amount of data that's consumed by selecting "Search on WiFi networks only" under "Mobile Connection".

"Search from Camera" is one of the features that won't be available in the Google app for iPhone because iOS' background APIs aren't that powerful. If you have an Android device, install Google Goggles 1.6 from the Android Market.


  1. Hrm, what android theme is that? Assuming it's a T-Mo theme engine compatible theme...

  2. with gps location and enough photos sent to google that could create a "google map" of what is everywhere

  3. That Theme is the standard UI of the MIUI Rom.

  4. Google buys a bunch of patents to protect its cute little green baby from all the big, bad patent lawsuits. Only this time, instead of buying a hardware manufacturer to expand its patent warchest, team Mountain View merely purchased 1,023 bits of IP from IBM.

    Read more:

  5. interesting app, there is an appfor reading barcodes and using the camera and gets you information about the product from the the net. The app is not from google but is there in the android market.

  6. Seems to be a complicated one. Not sure if anyone would like it.

  7. @Learning Tux: that's nothing new... there are LOTS of barcode reading apps out there for a couple of years now... Google's Goggles app does more by taking ANY pic and trying to tell you what it is. So if you saw something you don't know or not sure of, take a pic and Goggles will try to tell you what it is.

  8. It seems to me this new app is the beginning of the software that Google hopes to use for their “rumored” goggles that will be similar to “Terminator Vision.” The software is supposed to mimic the Android OS at launch, if these reports are to be believed. I would find a goggle solution more applicable to 3D, and watching movies, if I were to invest on such a thing; I wouldn’t want to use them when in my everyday life though. If I could stream my movies from my Blockbuster @Home subscription through 4G service or my home network, I would be thrilled. Think how much more enjoyable an airplane ride would be? Actually, ever since my employer, DISH, added the streaming to Blockbuster @Home, I find that I watch more movies because of the instant gratification. It’s nice to have things for my kids to watch too in between mailings. I can’t imagine how much more media I would consume if I could watch with glasses, or even while I’m working!

  9. The possibly unintended emphasis on Google Goggle's barcode reading ability really does not do it justice.
    Woah is right, there are a lot of barcode apps (I suggest Barcode Scanner from the ZXing project). This is not, IMHO, what GGoggles is for.

    Here is a better example of the "Terminator Vision" this app can realize...
    I took a photo of some friends at a party.
    Within a minute my phone buzzed with a notification... Google Goggles had scanned the photo in the background.. It turns out there was a poster behind the group of people.. More than half of it was covered by their heads... Yet, Goggles picked up on it, identified the photo, , and provided me with a bunch of links to website that sell reprints of that poster/photo !!

    And another from earlier today:
    I took a snapshot of my local church. In front of the church there is a noticeboard with an 'inspirational message'.. The notice board was small and took less than a 10th of the picture.. Yet Goggles identified it, read the inscription and then found me a book on Amazon that contained that phrase !! All within 30seconds in the background...

    This is way more crazy than 'bookmarking some books'...


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