Google Goggles offer search by sight for Android users

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Searching on a mobile device may have been as bland as going to Google on your web browser up until now, but the search giant today spiced things up a little by announcing a range of new search services accessible by location, voice and even sight.

The Google Mobile team confirmed the new functions on its blog with Google Goggles taking centre stage.

By using the camera on a mobile device, this new service allows you to search for information using images rather than typing words.

It gave examples it could help you with, from wanting more information on a monument you are visiting to finding out what is the best wine on the list you are looking at for dinner.

By sending the image through your phone to Google's data centres it can search information for you and return the search results to your handset within seconds.

Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google Mobile, said in the post: "When you connect your phone's camera to data centres in the cloud, it becomes an eye to see and search with."

"It sees the world like you do, but it simultaneously taps the world's info in ways that you can't. And this makes it a perfect answering machine for your visual questions."

Google Goggles comes as a mobile application but is only available devices running Android 1.6 and abover. It is downloadable from the Android Market and Google is urging its customers to try it and help the company to develop the tool further.

The search giant also confirmed improvements to its voice search with the application being available on more devices and in more languages and search by location where it is now possible to search for "What's Nearby" using Google Maps to give you a list of 10 of the nearest places of interest.

The post said that these launches were early examples of what could be done with the technology but it concluded: "Something has changed. Computing has changed. And the possibilities inspire us."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.