Google Goggles would provide a perfect window for augmented reality, but the search engine wants to build out its computer vision search database and 3D object coverage first.
It's early days for computer vision software such a
Google Goggles, which some analysts and even Google itself feel hasn't tapped
its true potential.
One such role for Goggles
could be as a vector for AR (augmented reality), which comprises the
overlay of information on real-world views seen through a mobile phone's camera
Goggles is a visual search application that uses smartphone cameras to send image information to Google's computing clouds,
then back to the users' phones to complete an action.
Users of Android and
Apple iPhone smartphones can use the app to snap pictures of landmarks, books,
CDs, wine bottles, art. Google has taught the app to recognize print ads, QR
codes and barcodes, solve
Sudoku puzzles and
menus from one language to another.
But what if Google tweaked Goggles in such a way as to
retrieve not just historic info from its search engine, but to overlay
real-time information about things or even places when a user points the camera
at an object?
Google Goggles Product Manager Shailesh Nalawadi said
Google is considering different applications for AR
"When you do it well in current paradigm, it feels
more real-time," Nalawadi told eWEEK. "AR is a user interface, user
experience innovation. It's something we are looking to do as well, but at the
It's one thing to whip up another newfangled piece of
software, and quite another to find a practical use for it.
Nalawadi provided a hypothetical scenario where Google
might use AR. For example, a mobile phone user could point his Android phone at
a restaurant or bar across the street to learn menu, hours of operation, ratings,
deals and other info.
Some AR browser makers, such as Wikitude and Layar,
operate in this fashion. Google's core goal is rooted
in search, so Nalawadi said Goggles needs to answer another question: what is
the specific piece of information a user is looking for when they search with
their mobile phone?