Google confirmed that its Goggles visual search application would be coming to Apple's iPhone soon and also said it would release APIs for its image recognition, according to this scoop from ReadWriteWeb.
Google Goggles is a mobile application that lets users take a picture of a location or objects such as a product or painting from their smartphone and do a Google search that pulls up information associated with the image.
The image a user snaps with his or her camera is a query that gets sent to Google's cloud computing data centers and processed with computer vision algorithms.
The application is available for smartphones based on Google's Android operating system version 1.6 and up and is a popular draw among users of the Motorola Droid, Google Nexus One and HTC Droid Incredible.
But it has thus far been relegated to Android, limiting its exposure to the No. 3 mobile operating system in the U.S. behind RIM's Blackberry and Apple's iPhone.
Google Goggles Product Manager Shailesh Nalawadi confirmed at an augmented reality event in Santa Clara, Calif. June 4 that Goggles would makes its way to the iPhone soon. A spokesperson confirmed the happening, but declined to provide more clarity into the timing.
This is a big step in helping Goggles reach a broader audience. Google apps such as search, Google Maps and YouTube are popular on the iPhone, which has shipped more than 50 million units. Apple is launching iPhone 4.0 at its Worldwide Developer Conference today.
Apple's relationship with Google has been rocky, thanks to actions such as Apple's rejection of Google Voice on the iPhone for competition's sake. However, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said he has no plans to dump Google as the default search provider on the iPhone or iPad tablet.
Nalawadi also said Google would release the image recognition technology that powers Goggles via APIs by the end of the year.
Google, which just launched APIs for Google Latitude and Google Buzz, is no stranger to releasing the programming interfaces that gets developers writing additional applications, plug-ins or other Web services for its existing apps.
"APIs are good and we would love to offer recognition capabilities as APIs eventually," Nalawadi said, according to the ReadWriteWeb post.
Google is also steadily expanding the coverage of Goggles. The app launched with support for locations, art, products, barcodes and other objects, but Google will extend that to other images over time.
Google May 6 added text translation to the new Version 1.1 of its Google Goggles application, allowing travelers to other countries to take pictures of text and read them in their native language.
Now travelers to other countries can take pictures of street signs, restaurant menus and other text and read them in their native language. This stranger in a strange land scenario is currently the primary use case for Goggles.