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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Google Goggles

Google Goggles Flawed, But Still Useful

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Now that Google has released Google Goggles for the iPhone, I think it’s same to assume usage of the feature will go up tremendously. While Goggles may still be in experimental Labs status, the new iPhone release will surely have plenty of people playing around with it. 

Because of that experimental status, it has some kinks. Right off the bat, you should know that it works best for books, DVDs, landmarks, logos, contact info, artwork, businesses, products, barcodes, and text (it even does translation). 

Google has some picture taking tips for better search results:

  • Take photos in areas with good lighting.
  • Zoom in as much as possible by placing your phone close to whatever you want to photograph
  • Use the crop button to focus on the area you’re interested in
  • Use your phone in "left landscape" orientation (with your right thumb pressing the shutter)
  • Hold your hands steady, and use the on-screen shutter button

Types of searches you’ll want to avoid using Google Goggles for, at least at this point, include: animals, plants, cars, furniture, and apparel. I’d expect Google to make strides in these areas as time goes on, but for now, don’t expect spectacular results for these types of queries. 

You can share pictures you take with Google Goggles right from Goggles itself, using Bluetooth, Facebook, Gmail, Picasa, etc. 

Goggles SERPs show web results, text matches, similar images, other matches, suggested results and a translation option. "If you take a picture of a business card, you’ll get links to search for the person, email or call them directly, visit their company URL, or add them as a contact on your phone," Google notes. "Barcode matches will provide a link to Google Product Search so you can quickly compare prices."

Using search history, users can view and manage saved copies of pictures they’ve taken with Google Goggles. That’s interesting in itself. You can have up to 1,000 picutres in your Goggles Search History, and you can remove items from it any time. 

One of the most potentially useful features of Goggles, especially if you travel a lot, is the translation feature. It currently reads English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, and translates to those languages, as well as Afrikaans, Albanian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Galician, Icelandic, Irish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish. Language support will no doubt increase as time goes on. 

Google does note that it’s not great with pictures of words from computer screens, and that the best results will come from printed materials. 

Have you used Google Goggles? What is your impression? Share your thoughts

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Google Goggles
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