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

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. You can also take a picture of foreign language text, and the app will translate it. In my experience, the barcode feature worked well, but it didn't find a match for many of the objects. Still, I can see the potential. Read more in the New York Times. Note that the app requires autofocus, so only works with the iPhone 4 and 3GS.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.