Your smartphone can be a really useful tool when you’re traveling. It can help you understand the local lingo, find hotels and restaurants, learn about activities and attractions, and document your trip. Google Goggles adds another option to the toolbox. In a nutshell, this app allows you to take pictures and use the image to generate search results.
Google Goggles is designed to handle specific types of queries, so there are many things it can’t help you with, but the things it does do can prove very handy indeed. For globetrotters it can prove especially useful because it is capable of recognizing landmarks. If you see some stunning work of architecture and you’re curious about it, try pointing your smartphone at it and snap a shot for Google Goggles to examine. There’s a good chance you’ll get detailed information via the web, and you don’t even have to know what the building is before you search.
Google Goggles screenshots — Photo courtesy of Google
Anyone with an eye for art will also appreciate the ability to scan artworks and find the name of the painting, the artist responsible, and the story behind it. Whether you’re at an art gallery and you want to know more about a specific work, or you just see a print in a restaurant that you really like, Google Goggles has you covered.
Google Goggles usefulness doesn’t end there because it can also be used to scan text, even in a foreign language. The service supports translation between English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish. You can use it to translate a sign, a leaflet, or a menu. Consider installing Google Translate as well and you’ll find communicating in a foreign language that little bit easier.
There are a few additional tricks worth mentioning. Google Goggles can recognize some businesses and products, it can identify logos, and it can extract text from a business card or another source to help you quickly store contact details. This is thanks to something called OCR, Optical Character Recognition, and it can be a much faster way of recording text.
When it comes to shopping, you can also use Google Goggles to scan barcodes and QR codes on products or adverts for further information and links to buy. It will generally recognize books, DVDs and CDs without you having to focus on the barcode. If you scan something you like, it can also find similar products for you.
One last capability of Google Goggles that some travelers might appreciate is its ability to solve Sudoku puzzles. If you reach the point of frustration with a puzzle just point your smartphone camera at it and the solution will be revealed.