Feeds

Google fits Android for visual search Goggles

New frontiers in targeted ads

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.