Google Goes Real-Time, Adds Google Goggles Mobile Search

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-12-07 Print this article Print

So Google entered the real-time search space in a big way today with the help of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed and others.

Google officials also unveiled the Google Goggles mobile visual search technology, the What's Nearby location-based service and Google search by voice in Japanese. Let's look at some visuals, along with commentary.

First, the real-time search. Google is processing 1 billion documents per day in real time, according to Google Fellow Amit Singhal, the mastermind behind Google's relevancy algorithms.

How did Google do this? By developing dozens of new technologies to make Google real-time search fly, including language models. For example, Google had to model whether tweets are genuine, information carrying tweets or "weather buoys sitting out there tweeting automatically."

Congrats, Google. It works really, really well!

Google RT1.png

Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google, introduced Goggles, but you can see how it works here before downloading it yourself from the Android market (Android 1.6+ devices only).

Just how big a deal does Google believe computer vision technology is? Gundotra said without any trace of exaggeration:

"It's estimated that up to two-thirds of our brain, of the human cortex, is involved in the processing of visual images. It's widely believed by scientists that if we can figure out how the human brain processes images, that would be a monumental step forward in understanding how the brain actually works."

That's a big deal, so it's easy to see why Google is working on this stuff. Think how much effort such image query search will save us from typing with our tired fingers.

Speaking of saving users time, Gundotra also said that Google saves 9 seconds per user with its Google Maps for mobile app because it knows users' locations and renders them on the fly, using cell phone tower triangulation.

To wit, What's nearby is the new Google Maps for mobile 3.3 feature to show smartphone users in unfamiliar places what restaurants, stores and other places are around them. Check it out:

What's nearby 2.pngWhat's nearby 1.png

More on this feature in a future post.

Finally, Google search by voice has expanded from English and Mandarin Chinese to Japanese:


All in all, Google delivered a staggering number of new search innovations today. It's easy to see why Google is the search king, and why Microsoft Bing or anyone else will struggle to take its crown. |

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