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What is Google Goggles?


Boggled by Goggles
Goggles is a mobile-only feature, so most people use it by snapping pictures with their smartphone cameras.
Goggles is a mobile-only feature, so most people use it by snapping pictures with their smartphone cameras.
Courtesy Google

Goggles is a mobile-only app, primarily because it's rather difficult to lift your desktop computer to take a picture of a landmark 30 miles away from home. Its capabilities are available for both Apple and Android smartphones, and it's also free.

To get the best results from Goggles, turn your phone to a horizontal (or landscape) position, with the top of the phone resting in your left hand and your right hand on the shutter button. Snap a picture of the object in question, submit your search and, so long as you have a decent wireless connection, you'll generally have an answer in a few seconds.

Goggles has plenty of everyday functions. For example, take a picture of a bar code or a QR code, and Google will load a plethora of information about the item you scanned. Or, if you meet a new colleague, snap a picture of his business card with Goggles. Google recognizes the card and automatically offers to save this information as a new contact in your phone.

The app is also a language expert. Take a picture of any text written in English, French, Russian, German, Spanish or Italian, and Google can translate those words into more than 40 languages. Never again will you fear to visit that fancy French restaurant just because you can't, you know, read the menu. Google recently gave Goggles puzzle-solving powers, too. Snap a shot of a Sudoku puzzle, and Goggles will kick back the answers to you in a flash.

Tired of going to the trouble of taking pictures for Goggles? Engage the app's continuous mode and just point your camera at objects, and you'll see a live stream of search results that appears on your phone's screen. What's more, if you let Goggles run ceaselessly in the background, the app will send you a notification every time it recognizes something. Expect higher data usage, though, along with the potential creepiness factor.


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