Google Goggles: Soon, You’ll Search Via IPhone Camera

Do you know Google Goggles? If you’re already a fan, then you’ll be pleased that Google announced today that it will be coming to the iPhone! If you’re not familiar with it, then allow me to make a quick introduction.

Google Goggles is a visual search tool. Just snap a pic of an object you’re interested in knowing more about, and Goggles will use the image to search the web for information — no typing necessary.

Android users can attest to the fact that it’s not quite seamless yet, with Goggles sometimes having a tough time recognizing generic things or identifying it incorrectly.

(Take a photo of your grandma’s old Dodge, and it may not quite know what to do with it.) But for well-known landmarks and packaged products, books or DVD boxes, it does a pretty decent job. It also does well with barcodes and text translation.

As for pointing that camera directly at Grandma — Goggles can actually do facial recognition (especially if Grandma happens to be an award-winning actress or otherwise has a decent web presence), but the company doesn’t really enable it on mobiles due to privacy concerns.

Looks like Google is committed to the Goggles project, having already made it available on the Android platform and developing an iPhone version that will launch by the end of the year. The company is even considering letting third-party developers use Goggles in their apps.

With this latest bit, it seems like another nail in the coffin to old-fashioned tap-to-type entry. Soon, no one’s going to be typing anymore.

The Google Mobile app already offers voice searching, and Dragon Dictation has given iOS users a free way to draft emails, texts and docs just by talking out loud. There are also augmented reality browsers (think Layar, or even Urbanspoon and Yelp) that give you the scoop on nearby places by just holding your phone up and letting your camera pan around you.

And Swype, the very trendy text input method that Android owners have been using to swipe around a keyboard instead of tap, is reportedly creating a version for the iPhone. (Fingers crossed that Apple doesn’t ban it for competing with its own built-in keyboard.)

What do you think? Really cool new way to interact with technology, or just another gimmick that will come and then quickly fade? Share your POV in the comments.

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