Google has introduced a new product to its Android Market in the form of an app called Google Goggles, which lets users use the camera on their phone to grab an image of something and then use that image to run a search.
Google Goggles is certainly an interesting piece of kit, with the folks at Google immediately warning that it has its limitations, but some of the things it can accomplish within those limitations are very impressive indeed. Of course, the example being cited most commonly seems to be taking a picture of a landmark and having Google take that image and return you a bundle of information about it (the example used by Google is the Golden Gate Bridge), but there are far more interesting things afoot than that.
Perhaps the single most interesting thing is that the new app has been shown off doing so far is finding restaurant recommendations. The user simply points their Android-based device at the front of the establishment, and the combination of GPS and compass should sort you out with some wisdom on whether or not you should eat at the place you’re pointing at.
Equally impressive is the ability to import contact details directly from a business card, though it seems like a very different use of the app in a general sense, it’s no less impressive for it.
Predictably enough, the Goggles should also be able to tell you what book you’re reading, though somehow that one seems a little redundant. It can also tell you a bit about a brand name if you’re happy to point your phone at it for a few seconds and let it go off and look up some details for you.
It’s strange to see, and certainly fun, but the question for now is, “What’s the point?” Clearly this is something Google has worked on for a bit, but it’s hard to guess just what it’s for. If anyone has any ideas, drop us a line in the comments. I’m more than a little curious.
Unforunately, Google Goggles isn’t available in the Irish version of the Android Market yet, so we’re a little stuck in that respect. With any luck, it’ll arrive here soon.