Google Goggles: My mind boggles

December 9, 2009

At this week’s Google’s Search Event (yes, that’s what it was called), the search giant made huge news with its announcement of real-time search: Google is applying its search ninja skills to the world of the real-time Web, putting updates from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and elsewhere right alongside traditional Web pages, blog posts and online news sources.

That’s huge. I’m curious to see how this will affect what we’ve come to know about finding information, search engine optimization and consumer engagement.

Another bit of huge news — one that appears to have received relatively less attention than real-time search (though still a┬áhealthy amount of attention) — is the announcement of Google Goggles. The coolness of this news is tough to match.

Watch that video above and be awestruck. Google Goggles is a mobile app for visual search; no need to describe what you’re looking at to find out more about it. Just snap a photo of a book, and you are presented with a wealth of information about it, its author and more. Snap a photo of a landmark and learn exactly what it is, when it was built, get a link to its Wikipedia page and more.

So far, most explanations of the power of Google Goggles lean on laziness: If you don’t want to type in your search query, just take a photo instead! But that’s missing the point. If Goggles can recognize landmarks, read barcodes, identify albums based on a mysterious bit of cover art and so on, this is far more than just a cure for laziness. It’s a whole new level of awesome.

And if you’re interested, the folks at Into Mobile put the app to the test.