Google Goggles lets mobiles search on sight

Google has launched a new mobile service that allows users to perform searches using their smartphone’s camera.

Dubbed Google Goggles, the app delivers search results by comparing pictures taken on the camera against its huge library of indexed images. The service can be used for tasks such as identifying a painting’s artist, to providing more information on landmarks, or searching for product reviews.

All of the data crunching is performed in the cloud, in a similar vein to Google Mobile Voice Search, meaning the phone will need an open data connection to perform the pictorial searches.

Googles does more than basic image matching. The application can be used to scan business cards, for example, instantly adding details such as telephone numbers and email addresses to the phone’s contacts.

Google Goggles business card reader

Goggles also offers augmented reality features, overlaying data such as restaurant names and company information as users point their camera at different buildings on the high street.

Many of the features of Google Goggles are already available in other smartphone apps. Layar, for instance, already offers the augmented reality features, while Amazon’s iPhone app offers a feature that allows people to take photos of products and find out how much they cost on the shopping site.

Google Goggles is currently only available for Google’s own Android operating system, but the company says it will eventually port the app to the iPhone.

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