The story

On the seventh day, the Lords of Google looked down upon their work, and they saw that it was good - but it involved a bit too much typing. So rather than resting, they decided to work out how they could search the internet using pictures. The result: Google Goggles. If you're geeky enough to know anything about augmented reality… well, forget it. Because Google has much bigger ambitions than overlaying the nearest tube station on your phone's video feed. The new Google Goggles (version 1.3) allows you to interrogate a terrifying variety of objects and images. And it doesn't just search for lookylikies - it'll scan printed words into editable text, translate foreign signs and even solve Suduko puzzles. In short: this app is way smarter than a puny human.

The experience

While early versions of Goggles felt gimmicky and produced unreliable results, version 1.3 is a quantum leap into a science-fiction future where every object has a story to tell. As before, you can scan the covers of CDs, films and books to find out more about them online. You can take photos of products, logos and adverts, and get  remarkably accurate results. You can use Goggles to scan the barcodes that appear on Life of Android  when you hit the 'download' button - it'll take you directly to the Android market. And now you can even scan the words inside a book and Goggles will convert it to editable text. You can scan business cards in the same way and suck that information into your phone's address book. Or even scan foreign text and translate it into passable English. It really is magical. Google advises that Goggles proably won't work on furniture, apparel or animals - for now, at least.  But if you want to really show how smart your phone is, you can now use Goggles to complete your suduko puzzles. Yes, it takes away what little fun there was in using you brain, but it's still an incredibly neat party trick. But Goggles is more than a gimmick - it's a truly revolutionary app that makes searching as simple as taking a picture, unlocking a world of knowledge and letting every object and image tell its story. In doing so, Goggles will, over time, completely change the way we relate not just to our phones - but to the world around us. Don't hesitate to download. [Not a valid template]

The bottom line

Takes abstract web searches into the real world - and adds some serious wow-factor, too.

Additional info

Version tested: 1.3 (for all Android versions, supports App2SD)

User reviews

  • Luis Aguirre, 16th Feb 2011

    The Comments

    I actually really like what this app can do. It is amazing that technology can perform this sort of recognition with ease. My issue is real world use. I downloaded the app to help during my trip in Paris, but I was not able to use it the same way as I can here in the US. The app requires that you are connected to a network (wi-fi or local service provider) because it searches the web to find the response.

    Overseas, most non-business travelers probably turn off normal phone capabilities i.e. setting it to flight mode to avoid the crazy international rates carriers charge. If you are willing to pay the fees to use data internationally then this app will be amazing & effectively replace your pocket dictionary. Otherwise, you better hope that you are with someone who can translate for you.

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Google Goggles


13th Jan 2011

Use pictures to search the web


the good

  • » Simple but powerful
  • » Scans print to text
  • » Clever tricks

the bad

  • » Patchy translation
  • » No facial recognition
User Rating

read user review (1)

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