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Google Goggles – Searching the Web, Without Words

Posted by in Industry News

Back in late November I blogged about the direction of online search and where would it go from here, and as a testament to how rapidly things change in the online world we already have an answer from Google about where they want to take things.

Google Goggles is a new search service offered on mobile phones running Google’s phone operating system, Android. Google Goggles allows the user to take a photo of an object and retrieve information from the web on it. Current requirements to be able to utilise Google Goggles:

* An Android device running Android 1.6 or above
* A QVGA screen
* A camera with autofocus

There are many uses for the service that will change how you search for information:

* Get information instantly by taking photos of:

    • Landmarks
    • Books
    • Artwork
    • Products
    • Logos
    • Wines

    * Using the phones internal compass, the camera display can show information about locations such as restaurants relevant to your location and the direction that you point your camera. You’re then able to bring up information on the location (i.e. ratings and comments on restaurants)
    * The service can recognise text and using this feature, users are able to scan in information off business cards and save them as contacts directly to the phone

    This service is still in development and is not yet able to deliver results as relevant as you would expect via a normal keyword search, however its capabilities will advance through user feedback on the relevancy of their searches and as Google grows their database. Future plans for Google Goggles are to connect it with live updates from social networking sites such as Facebook status posts and Twitter feeds, as well as adding Google’s facial recognition technology (left out of initial release due to its currently limited functionality).

    This new technology springs to mind some interesting questions; What will this new technology mean for online marketing? How does Google determine the relevancy of results and analyse images specific to certain topics? How will businesses optimise to generate exposure via this new medium?

    From a social perspective, with the potential introduction of facial recognition, what will this mean for privacy? By simply entering a photo you took of someone into the search, will you be able to pull up of online data related to that person from their social networking pages to images to contact details to employment information? Will we have the choice whether or not to be ‘searchable’ online or what information comes up for searches?

    This certainly is a space we will be keeping a close eye on.

    Official Google Video on Goggles

    Visual Demo of Google Goggles Functionality

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