Posted December 8, 2011 9:11 am by with 3 comments

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Search sure has come a long way from its blue text link beginnings. While the desktop and mobile versions of Google still offer some of those options there are so many different ways to search now it’s hard for marketers to get their arms around optimizing it all.

Voice search adds a whole new dimension to the discipline and Siri has upped the ante (at least initially as it seems that its Beta tag is proving it should be just that, in beta). The other side of the “new search” has been products like Google Goggles which allows users to take a picture of what they are interested in learning more about then letting Google (hopefully) either identify the object in question and supply additional information about it. I have used the service before and found the need to frame and click an item perfectly was clunky. Now it appears that that has changed.

According to the Google Mobile blog:

With Google Goggles, you can quickly add someone to your contacts, learn about paintings, translate foreign text, and even solve Sudoku. Starting today, with Goggles 1.7 for Android, we’re making your visual search experience much faster and providing better results with new features like continuous mode, improved text recognition and contributed results.

Skip the shutter with continuous mode

Continuous mode is a quick and easy new way to use Goggles. You can now get results instantly without having to take a picture – no shutter press required! Goggles will scan the scene continuously so you don’t need to worry about taking multiple pictures.

This sounded interesting so I gave it a whirl and it is a major improvement. As for accuracy and the breadth / depth of the things that can actually be ID’d through the service? That’s a crapshoot for sure. Google lets you know that it’s still Goggles and isn’t a cure all for your visual search needs.

Other improvements include better text recognition that can allow you to simply catch a piece of what you are reading and Google can do the rest.

Starting today, when Goggles recognizes a portion of text, you’ll get results that have a close match to the text you’ve scanned. Let’s say you’re reading a magazine article you really like and want to share it with your friends. Just point Goggles at a part of the page, and instantly find a link to an online version to share immediately or read again later. You won’t even need the entire article in the frame. Goggles will also pull up more information from pages around the web where that text is mentioned, so its easier to learn about what you’re seeing.

And in fine Google fashion Google is asking you , the user, to help them do their work by adding suggestions when something isn’t found in the database used to supply results for Goggles users.

All pretty neat stuff but I have trouble making services like this a regular part of my life. I get the news of improvements, use it a few times, show it to my friends then move on with life as services like this fade into the myriad other “productivity enhancers” the world has to offer today.

Do you use Google Goggles? Let us know your thoughts.

  • Frank,

    I think Google Voice Search will be most helpful, as a passenger…not a driver!…when the need comes up in a vehicle to find a restaurant or the hours a store is open etc., those kinds of things that we search for while traveling and for which entering in data is a pain. Google Goggles itself, I’m not sure is such a big deal. But the voice activated part of the search is helpful in that I believe it will give more complete results than Siri will, or if that is not the case, will provide a good adjunct search result when added to Siri’s results. I’d be sure to disable the features that allow them to store all your images and data.

  • thanks for that interesting article – I did not here of Google Goggles before…but I am looking forward to learn more about it!

  • A very good & brilliant app.
    Love it:-)