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Google Goggles comes to iOS

Google Goggles on iPhone
Google Goggles has finally made its debut on Apple's iOS. Having been snapping pictures and searching the Web for a while on Android handsets, Goggles has now been rolled into the already feature rich Google mobile application for iOS. This means that big G now gives you three ways to find what you're looking for on an iPhone -- voice, photos, and plain old text search. Given the accuracy and usability that Google's voice search has on an iPhone, I was excited to see whether Goggles followed in the same vein.

Function

So, what's it like to use? Is it actually useful? Well, for those who have never come across Goggles, it works in a very similar way to the Remembers function of Amazon's iOS app. Snap a picture of a product, barcode, or logo, and it'll bring up associated items. Goggles goes further, however, allowing you to snap pictures in order to search for landmarks, contact info, businesses, artwork, and simple text. Within each snap, Goggles frames the things that it recognizes and links them to keywords through color-coding. You can then select the correct keyword and start a Google search. It's simple.

Testing

In testing, which you can see in the gallery below, Goggles did a fair job of recognizing major brand name goods, although it struggled with Sainsbury's own brand Passata. It had no problem with books; it recognized the text, name of the book, and the author with aplomb. But what was really amazing was its ability to recognize landmarks, not only by geolocation but also by matching similar images. Taking a photo of a photo, for instance, matches said photo with any other image that it can find that's similar. That's a useful solution if the subject you're taking a picture of isn't as widely known as, say, the Houses of Parliament clock tower in London (that's Big Ben to most people) or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Getting Goggles to recognize the new Dallas Cowboys stadium from an image was also a cinch, and considering that most stadiums look the same, I was impressed.


Google Goggles for iOS



Verdict

So, is Google Goggles worth using? Will it save you time on your searches? If I'm honest, I have to say that, as far as known things go, it's a no -- it's slower than both voice search and manual text entry. But for those things that you simply don't recognize, or if you want a novel way to get more information on a landmark or art piece, then Goggles will normally come through. It's not perfect, but what it can do already is impressive. Considering it's a free update to the already excellent Google mobile app on the iPhone, there's no reason not to try it out.

Google mobile app [iTunes] - Free

Tags: goggles, google, google goggles, GoogleGoggles, iOS, photo search, PhotoSearch, review, search

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