Feeds

Google fits Android for visual search Goggles

New frontiers in targeted ads

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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
You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds
Man, we did everything but knock on their doors - carrier
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
EE launches 150Mbps '4G+' in the heart of London
LTE-A – Faster phones for Hoxton Hipsters
Watch out, Samsung and Apple: Xiaomi's No 3 in smartphones now
From obscurity to selling 19 million mobes a quarter
Brazil greenlights $200m internet cable to Europe in bid to outfox NSA
Only one problem: it won't make the slightest difference. And they know it
Wanna hop carriers with your iPad's Apple SIM? AVOID AT&T
Unless you want your network-swapping tech disabled for good, that is
Knocking Knox: Samsung DENIES vuln claims, says mysterious blogger is a JOKER
But YES, system does store encryption key on the device
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.