Google Goggles Available On iPhone

Searching has become as simple as taking a picture.
Eliminating one of the significant advantages of having an Android phone, Google on Tuesday made its visual search software Google Goggles available for Apple's iPhone.

Google Goggles is now part of the latest version of the Google Mobile App, which can be found Apple's iTunes App Store. It can be accessed via the Google Mobile App search tab by selecting the camera icon, which is next to the microphone icon for voice search.

Introduced in December 2009, Google Goggles allows the user to conduct a search by taking a picture. It's far from perfect, but it's nonetheless remarkably useful.

"Computer vision is a hard problem and Google Goggles is still a Labs product," said Google software engineer Milan Broum in a blog post. "It works well for things such as landmarks, logos and the covers of books, DVDs and games. However, it doesn’t yet work for some things you might want to try like animals, plants or food."

Google Googles also works well with images of contact info, famous paintings, businesses, products, barcodes, and text, according to the company.

It can translate images that contain text in another language. Presently, it can read words in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, and can translate them into any of those languages plus Afrikaans, Albanian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Galician, Icelandic, Irish, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Swedish.

However, Google Goggles is only currently-enabled for English-speaking users. It requires a phone running Android 1.6+ or an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 running iOS 4+.

When it works, the process of taking a picture and receiving search results it generally quicker than typing a query on a mobile phone's virtual keyboard.

Google Goggles tends to be easier than one-handed typing and is often more convenient than submitting a keyword search when on the move.

Voice search has similar advantages, which explains why Google has been made significant investments in image and voice recognition technology for mobile devices. The company introduced voice search for mobile two years ago and already 25% of search queries on Android devices are spoken.