iPhone Life magazine

Google Mobile App

Amazing Camera Apps

Add barcode readers, augmented reality, fax, language translation, heart rate monitor, and more to your iPhone or 4th gen iPod touch

The range of creative and practical apps that use the camera in unusual ways is astonishing. Who would have thought that you could use it as a heart rate monitor or a business card reader? There's even an app for those who are colorblind, to show them the colors present in any object you photograph.

Apple made a brilliant decision when it let developers create apps that access the camera input and use it in non-traditional ways. In this month's column, I offer a roundup of some of these apps.


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Google Goggles -- New feature in free Google app lets you search the web by taking a picture

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The free Google Mobile App was already pretty amazing, with the ability to search the web just by speaking into your phone. And early this month they released a new version that includes Google Goggles: a search function that lets you take a photo and then searches the web based on what's in the photo. You can take a photo of a barcode, landmark, product, text, artwork, book, etc., and the app will return information. The help screens say that the app doesn't work very well for items like animals, apparel, or furniture.



Yahoo app adds voice search

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The Yahoo! app for the iPhone is in the News category in iTunes, which is a bit odd, since the app does so many things. Most recently the company added voice search to its app, so that you can speak your queries. (Voice search has been available in Google Mobile App for some time.) In addition to offering search, Yahoo's app offers news, e-mail (Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, or AOL), status updates from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, RSS feeds, Yahoo Calendar, Address Book, and Messenger — and much more.



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