Google Goggles – The All-Seeing, All-Knowing Eye
Google has been notoriously known for its passion for searching for stuff. And not just searching but also exploring, classifying, labelling and storing.
Its search engines reacted to written input, then spoken words, and now Google Goggles is smart enough to react to visual information. What could be next? Perhaps mind reading?
Time will show what sci-fi tricks Goggle has up its sleeve, but so far we have this curious app.
For: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Find it on: Google Play, iTunes
Google Goggles has been around for almost ten years now. What does it have to offer?
First of all, it’s a comprehensive tool that allows you to identify various types of visual information. Sounds a bit complicated so here’s what it can do:
- Scanning a barcode of a product and readdress you to an online store;
- Understanding QR-codes skillfully. It becomes especially handy when scanning a business card – the app adds contact info to your device on its own (asking for permission first);
- Being an expert at fine art, architecture and even literature. If you scan a painting depicting a confused and sad-looking doctor, you’ll know that it was created by Vincent van Gogh, that he adored it a lot and also that it costs $82,500,000;
- Being a polyglot – Google Goggles can turn any device into your personal pocket-size interpreter – you just need to snap a picture. So far it can read only English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Turkish and Russian. So if you see in a Moscow’s restaurant a mysterious “Поросёнок с хреном”, Goggles will inform you that it’s simply pork with a horseradish sauce;
- Searching for analogous products. If you like green tea for example, then the app may find brands similar to your favourite one and even give you some useful recommendations;
- Recognizing and scanning texts – you can save some money not paying for photocopies. This procedure requires enough of light in the room. If it’s too dark, the app will use your phone flash;
- Playing Sudoku (!)
An impressive set of functions I should say.
It’s been anticipated that future updates of Goggles will let us identify more of the real-life objects like plants, vehicles, meals, clothes, furniture etc. and all without saying or typing a word. However, we’ve seen no updates for 4 years. Sigh.
Ease of Use
Operating the app is no challenge – it’s simple and laconic. It understands some of the visual info on the spot (like QRs). Meanwhile, for identifying book covers or soda cans, you’ll have to snap a picture first.
Basically, it’s a combination of your camera and classic blue-colored Google design.
Right from the start, it offers you a menu with cartoonish little icons dedicated to various objects from company logos to barcodes and texts. Simply tap on one of them and have fun with its AI.
The apk download is absolutely free, and the app offers no additional purchases. However, the ads are still there, but they don’t get to be too irksome.
- 7 languages are available for translation;
- It has an OCR-scanner and can turn physical texts into editable documents;
- Barcodes and QR-codes are supported;
- It can find similar product brands;
- Intuitive and appealing interface.
- The last update was issued in May 2014;
- It runs on Android only;
- It requires your device to be connected to the Internet;
- A lot of objects still cannot be identified.
This app was and still is revolutionary to some extent. Although there has been any news on its current status and the latest update was released a long time ago, it’s still useful. Especially if you work a lot with documents, enjoy art or love travelling abroad.