Ever needed a quick translation of a foreign menu? Wanted to identify an unknown landmark? A new app called Google Goggles
offers mobile users highly useful way to decipher the world around us using the camera on your mobile phone. This new service for Android users
makes it remarkably simple to find quick translations of foreign languages, identify landmarks or even pick a bottle of wine, all rolled into one.
To use Google Goggles, all you need to do is launch the app and take a photo using your phone's camera. See a word on the menu in Paris that you don't recognize? Skip the guidebook and send a picture. You'll be given a translation right on your phone. Or maybe you're walking around and want to know more about a building or landmark. Send a photo of it and you'll be delivered an explanation. It's a new way of searching the world visually, tapping into Google's vast database and the increasing power of mobile devices. Much like augmented reality
and location services
, mobile devices now allow travelers the ability to make the real world 'clickable' - almost as if you were surfing the web.
Although Google Goggles is a tremendous leap forward for travelers, it's still not universal to all mobile phone users. To download the app, you have to be an owner of one of Google's compatible Android devices
(sorry iPhone owners) like the Nexus One
running version 1.6 or above
. If that's you, you can find Google Goggles by searching and downloading it from the Android Marketplace
. The recognition software is also not perfect. The technology is still in its infancy so don't expect every image you send in to be recognized. Still, the concept of Google Goggles is exciting one for travelers. For anyone with a mobile phone, a whole new range of services is on the horizon.
Filed under: Gear