Google Goggles Review

Snap a picture and Google retrieves information about that image.
By: Bob Tedeschi

Category: Travel
Cost/Platforms: Free on Android and Apple devices.

Overall Rating:travel app rating
Multiplatform:travel app rating
Lots of function for nothing:travel app rating
Fun and easy to use:travel app rating
Solves travel need or challenge:travel app rating

Snap a photo, and let Google go to work.

Why we like it -- Goggles is essentially a visual search service, available as a standalone Android app or from within the Google Mobile app for Apple devices. (It's not yet available for BlackBerry.) Point your camera toward something and snap a "picture," and Google retrieves information about that image.

For travelers, perhaps the best feature of Goggles is its ability to translate signs so you can navigate an area. The app's foreign-language translation isn't perfect, but it is a great place to start (provided you have a data connection and a reasonably priced usage plan while you're on the road).

The app can also sometimes retrieve information about famous landmarks, thus saving you the hassle of typing in a name. If you snap the photo of a building's sign, that picture will yield a list of search results associated with the place.

Improvements we'd like to see -- Since "visual search" is in its infancy, approach it with modest expectations so you won't be disappointed. The app will often fail to recognize buildings or objects, and translations can be flawed.

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