Late last year, Google launched Google Goggles, an experimental Android app that lets you simply take a picture with your phone's camera to conduct a search - no query entering necessary. Today, Google announced that Goggles is available for the iPhone via the Google Mobile app.
Google Goggles is a very cool concept, but it needs a lot of work, hence its experimental status. I have little doubt, however, that Google will improve its functionality tremendously over time.
"Computer vision is a hard problem and Google Goggles is still a Labs product. It works well for things such as landmarks, logos and the covers of books, DVDs and games," says Google software engineer Milan Broum. "However, it doesn't yet work for some things you might want to try like animals, plants or food."
Notice, Broum said yet. It remains a mystery just what kind of resources the company is putting into Google Goggles, but I suspect it's a substantial amount, because this is some innovative search stuff. Google is all about speeding up the search process, and what could be faster taking a picture to enter a query? That's even faster than speaking a command (a technology that has revolutionized search in itself, and can also use some improvement, I might add).
In April, Google acquired Plink, a visual search company, specifically to have its team work on Google Goggles. Plink made a mobile app called PlinkArt, which let users identify paintings and artworks.
In May, Google introduced the ability to use Goggles to search for words in different languages and get translations. That's a powerful function to have in your pocket (when it works properly), particularly when traveling.
Simply getting Goggles on the iPhone will be a big step for its exposure. SEO is going to be really fun in the future.