Just in time for the holidays, Google announced the release of 1.) a new mobile application called Google Goggles for Android devices running Android 1.6 and above and 2.) an update, called What’s Nearby, for the Google Maps application. Both of these applications are getting mobile users a step closer to making mobile search that much easier.
With Google Goggles, instead of typing or performing voice searches, users can take pictures of objects or places to find more information. For example, simply taking a picture of a book’s cover will yield an exact book match in the search results, without having to type or say anything. Similarly, the application can be used to add contacts to a user’s phone by taking a snapshot of someone’s business card. Take a picture of a business card, and the card’s information will appear on the phone screen, allowing a user to click to call or add the number in the contacts list. Mobile searchers can even use Google Goggles to obtain on-the-spot business information. By pointing a phone at a business (no picture taking necessary), the business’ name will appear on the screen. A user can then click the name to obtain more information about the business.
The new Google Maps update, What’s Nearby, can be very useful when finding yourself in an unfamiliar place (especially during this time of year with all the holiday traveling). All it takes is a long press anywhere on a Google Map, and the update returns a list of the 10 closest places, such as restaurants, stores and other places of interest.
Google is already talking of new applications for the coming year, including updates to Google Goggles (imagine being able to take a picture of a leaf to determine the type of plant it’s from). I already know what kind of phone I will be purchasing next year, and I can’t wait to see what Google thinks of next.