Google Goggles – Search by sight!

Are you an art education teacher preparing for a discussion on oil painting in your class? What if you are reading an art magaziGoogle Goggles artwork searchne for inspiration and are impressed by one of the paintings and are eager to know more about the painting beyond the information provided (history, painter)? How about using your cellphone and taking a picture of the painting? It is as simple as that; you can search the Internet using the camera function of your phone and have results displayed on your screen!

Don’t believe it is real? You have to try Google Goggles!

Search by taking a picture!

Until now, the only option for web search has been through typing or speaking into a search engine. Google Goggles lets you search about the world by taking pictures with the smart phone camera (Android or iOS 4.0).  This visual search engine works with the phone camera to capture visual information that can be read by Google’s various applications (i.e. Search, Maps, Earth, Translate and etc.). It helps you identify what you are looking at and point you to the relevant information online.  

Google Goggles product search

Does it identify everything you see?

Since visual search technology is still in its early stages, the range of items you can identify with Google Goggles is still limited.  It works best on books & DVDs, artwork, landmarks, logos, business cards, products, barcodes, and text.  But it doesn’t work well yet on things like food, cars, plants, animals, furniture, or apparel.  As this technology advances in the coming years, expect visual searches to become prevalent on more mobile devices and be able to identify what they cannot today.

How can you use it in teaching and learning?

People with Google GogglesVisual search technology brings exciting implications for teaching and learning since it has the ability to access information in various locations, which static books cannot.  Students are no longer constrained to their classrooms or desks and they can search the Internet every moment and everywhere. For example, students could easily retrieve the history of an antique object they saw on a museum field trip, learn a new Spanish dish name at the restaurant by searching for its translation in English, or research more about an international association they noticed on a poster in the hallway.  It is exciting just thinking about all these options!

Requirement and updates

Google Goggles is enabled only for English-speaking users and since it requires an auto-focusing camera, it is only supported on Android, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 running iOS 4 or above. Since its launch in December 2009, Goggles has had several updates with the most recent version being able to read barcodes faster, identify print ads in magazines, and put any Sudoku champion to shame.  

It is reasonable to believe that the range of the items Goggles can identify will be extended and it will gradually be appearing in more mobile application stores.

Can’t wait to try it out?

Check out more on Google Goggles at the Google webpage – CLICK HERE.

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