Feeds

Google fits Android for visual search Goggles

New frontiers in targeted ads

The essential guide to IT transformation

Google has introduced a new visual-search technology for Android phones, giving it the inevitably cutesy name of Google Goggles.

Part of a trio of Monday announcements concerning voice, location, and visual search technologies, Google Goggles matches a photo you take with your Android phone with images in - where else? - Google's data centers. If a match can be made, Goggles provides you with information about the object you just snapped.

The technology also includes text-recognition capabilities so that you can, as an example in an introductory video demonstrates, scan a business card, and move the card's info into your Android address book.

A third capability adds augmented reality to the camera's view, using a combination of the phone's GPS and compass to allow you to scan the scene around you with your phone's camera and have info pop up onscreen about businesses and other sites you view.

Google Goggles is just one example of how the company is tying in-the-wild sensing capabilities of relatively low-power devices such as Android phones into the immense compute power of Google datacenters.

Don't expect a visual-computing revolution overnight, however. Google's introductory blog posting freely admits that such computer vision is still experimental. In its current incarnation, Google says, the Goggles technology works best on books, DVDs, landmarks, logos, contact info, artwork, businesses, products, barcodes, or text. It's "not so good", however, at deciphering shots of animals, plants, cars, furniture, or clothing.

The ad-placement and impulse-buying potential of Google Goggles are obvious. If, for example, you find yourself enjoying a perky bottle of Shiraz, you can snap it and Goggles could quickly present you with not only information about that particular vintage and vintner, but also links to where you could buy comparable wines from Google's ad partners.

The augmented-reality capability could also be an ad bonanza for Google. Point your phone at a camera shop you're strolling by, for example, and Goggles could alert you that one of its photography ad partners was having a sale on point-and-shoots at that very location.

And, knowing Google, don't be surprised if those ads are finely tailored to your previous buying history. If, for example, you recently snagged a $1,500 telephoto zoom lens from an online ad partner, odds are you wouldn't be alerted to the fact that your local shop was touting low-end Canon PowerShots, but instead informed of a today-only sale on a tasty ultrawide zoom lens.

Google Goggles works with phones running Android 1.6 and higher (sorry, iPhone users). It's available now on the Android Market. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?