Google Goggles

Google Goggles is here. No, not the Google Labs project from 2008 that Gmail would check your sobriety levels using maths puzzles before letting you send an email (see Telegraph here)…but true Visual Search. That’s searching with pictures as in:

“What’s that a statue of?”

“Dunno mate”

“Tell you what, I’ll take a picture of it on my phone and Goggle it”


“Oh…it’s Winston Churchill”

“What, the dog off of the adverts bruv?”

”Dunno…seems a bit big innit?”

That conversation went a bit “chavvy” there…funny but probably not representative of the demographic that will mainly be using this 🙂

What is it?

If my awesome transcript above isn’t enough, Google have some examples over at:


Does it work for everything?

Google are quite upfront that it “works better with certain types of queries”. They say that

“books & DVDs, landmarks, logos, contact info, artwork, businesses, products, barcodes, or text”

all work well while it’s not currently hot on “animals, plants, cars, furniture, or apparel”.

Can I haz Goggles?

Only if you’ve got an Android 1.6+ device 😦

C3PO from the film Star Wars

This might be the first time that users of Windows Mobile devices, Blackberries & iPhones have all come together in a show of solidarity usually reserved for invading aliens in hollywood movies 😉

Anymore Cool features?

Actually yes, yes there are!

Nearby Places Overlay:

This shows you local businesses such as restaurants, cinemas etc WITHOUT EVEN CONDUCTING A SEARCH! Point your camera forwards in Goggles mode, pan around and, once the GPS locks on and:

“you’ll see labels tagged to the nearby businesses, and a pin icon with a number in it at the bottom right corner of the screen. The number in the icon indicates the number of businesses nearby. You can either click the pin to see all places near you listed by proximity, or select a specific label to see more information about that particular business.”

Some nice augmented reality!

My thoughts:

I’ve never really been a fan of Google. I always used Google Search because, until Bing came along, it was the best but I was never interested in Google Mail or Google Apps. While things such as Google Earth and Streetview have come in very handy, I’ve never felt any connection with Google as a company; I don’t know them, they don’t know me and neither of us case about the other.

When they brought out Android, I was took a look but wasn’t bothered and the same goes for Chrome and Chrome OS. I’m a staunch Microsoft supporter, have been for many years and will continue to be so…BUT…

Google Goggles really could be awesome. For years I’ve said this should be the next evolution in search (ask anyone that sits near me at work!) and here it is…I feel a bit like the people in the Windows 7 adverts 😉

The number of times each day that people can see something but don’t know what it’s called:

“What kind of car is that?”

“Who’s that a statue of?”

“Which company has this logo?”

“What’s this building called?”

and there’s just no way to describe it to a text search engine, must be in the 100’s if not 1000’s.

It’s like Shazam for everything that isn’t music!

I’m a big fan of Windows Mobile (for all it’s faults) and I really believe that Windows Mobile 7 will be a HUGE leap forward. I’m due an upgrade to my phone very soon and have got my eye on the HTC HD2 with Windows Mobile 6.5…but this announcement has really made me consider jumping ship to Android…at least until WinMo 7 is released!


Having said all that though…my main thought is this:

”Will I ACTUALLY use it that much?”

As in, will I use it enough to make up for not having Office Mobile, for learning a new OS etc…and I’m not sure I will.

What I really want is for this to become available on normal, everyday desktop…no actually, what I REALLY is for this feature to come to Bing’s normal, everyday desktop search…that would be the best case scenario 🙂

I’m never sure how copyright/patents come into play with things like this…can Google patent this and stop Microsoft from developing essentially the same thing for Windows Mobile and Bing?

All in all, this is a great advance in the world of search and a good show from Google that they’re still in the game…but not enough to turn this user.

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