Google has boosted its Goggles visual search application with faster barcode scanning, the ability to scan print ads. And yes, the app will even solve Sudoku puzzles.
Google Jan. 10 upgraded its Google Goggles mobile application
with speedier barcode scanning and the ability to recognize print ads and solve
Android smartphone and iPhone users
can take pictures of locations, art,
products, barcodes and other products with their phone's camera. Goggles will
scan the image and conduct a search on Google.com for information about the
Google later added
text translation capabilities to Goggles, allowing travelers to take pictures
of street signs, restaurant menus and other text in other countries and read
them in their native language.
The refreshed Google Goggles can scan and search print
advertisements, such as movie posters and magazine ads for cars and other
products consumers might happen upon.
Users can snap a picture of the ad and Goggles will
recognize the print ad and return Web search results about the product or brand.
This feature is different than the marketing
experiment the company revealed in November, according
to Google software
engineers Leon Palm and Jiayong Zhang, who explained:
"We're now recognizing a much
broader range of ads than we initially included in our marketing experiment.
And when we recognize a print ad, we return Web search results. While in the
experiment, we return a specific link to an external Website."
Keeping right along with the shopping theme, Google
Goggles 1.3 for Android (not the iPhone component of the Google mobile app) can
scan barcodes almost instantly.
Users will open the Goggles app from their smartphone,
hover over a QR code or barcode and receive results of the subject in a few
seconds, all without pressing a button.
Users may then tap on a result to read product reviews
and compare prices. This is particularly useful for shoppers on-the-go who want
to access information about a product found in a store.
What Google has signaled with its Goggles enhancements is
that it intends the software to be an important mobile commerce aid to help
traveling shoppers find the right info about products and services fast.
Finally, for fun, Goggles on Android and iPhone now let
users cheat on Sudoku puzzles. Users can take a picture of an entire puzzle and
Goggles will return the solution to the puzzle. See how it works in this video
The Goggles upgrades come on the heels of Google's October
of its official Google Goggles app for the iPhone, which should give the
app more exposure, at least until Apple releases its own visual search