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iPhone users: Get your Google Goggles on


The Google Goggles update allows users to perform a visual search via the phone’s camera. For instance, locating a landmark through a quick photo. (ISAAC GATENO/The Stanford Daily)

Today, Google released an update to its iPhone app that includes Google Goggles functionality. Goggles, a product previously available only to Android users, is a visual search engine that uses pictures taken by the phone’s camera to generate search results. According to Google’s description of Goggles, the visual search technology works best on things like book covers, text to be searched for or translated, logos, landmarks, business cards and even artwork.

Being the incredible nerd that I am, I had been following Google Goggles and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. So as soon as the download finished, get my hands on it I did.

The verdict? This thing is awesome!

A snap of a CS 107 textbook yielded the ISBN and where to purchase it. (ISAAC GATENO/The Stanford Daily)

I took a picture of some text in French. Translated. I took a picture of my roommate’s computer full of stickers. Corporate logos recognized. I took a picture of my CS107 textbook, my copy of “Watchmen,” some barcodes, a bottle of Panamanian beer. I even loaded up a picture of Memorial Church on my computer screen and immediately got a link to its location on a map.

Goggles is still a Google Labs product, which means it’s still in development stages. While it can feel like an early beta at times, it’s definitely consistent enough to impress your friends and even be useful in most circumstances. I suppose you might have to be willing to deal with trying a query a few times before it works.

All in all I think this is a solid product making its debut in front of a very large audience. I’m excited to see what Goggles will be able to do once it really grows up.

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