Mobile Travel App – Google Goggles

Have you ever heard of Google Goggles? I had seen this when searching through Google’s Mobile Apps category the other day. It was initially released for Andriod. Goggles is enabled only for English-speaking users, and since it requires an auto-focusing camera it is now supported on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 running iOS 4 or above.

Do you know what it does? I didn’t, at first, so I had to check it out and found it an amazing mobile app for travel or any time. If you have an iPhone and you are searching for the app, be sure to have the Google Mobile App icon installed. Open the icon and then below the list of apps you’ll notice three icons for Search, Apps, and Settings. Open the search option and you’ll notice a camera icon and microphone icon to the right of the input search term bar. Click on camera and it will pull up basic instructions on how to use Google Goggles. Swipe the screen to get to the next step.

What you can take pictures of:

  • Books & DVDs
  • Landmarks
  • Logos
  • Contact Info
  • Artwork
  • Businesses
  • Products
  • Barcodes
  • Text

It won’t work well with animals, furniture, or apparel just yet, but man is this app cool! I tried it out first by taking a photo of a book on my shelf: 101 Accessible Vacations by Candy B. Harrington. It took 10 seconds for Google Goggles to scan the image with colorful boxes floating over the image. The search came up with three items for me, the top one being the actual book which linked to a book page containing various links about the book. The first link was to Candy’s website, 101AccessibleVacations.com.

How does this help travelers? Besides being able to take a picture of an image you see of someplace you’d like to visit in future and finding out exactly what the place is or where it’s located, I have to admit that my favorite aspect is taking a photo of a sign in a foreign language and having Google Goggles translate the word of phrase into English.

goggles translation image (c) Google

For example, if you are in a foreign country and there is a museum with a plaque in another language, but you’d like to know what it is, you can take a picture of the plaque, wait a few moments, and Google Goggles will translate the plaque. This really enhances the travel experience! I sure wish I would’ve had this app for my previous international travel to Saint-Tropez in France and Cancun in Mexico!

Do you have Google Goggles on your smartphone? Has it helped you in any way? To find out more information on this useful mobile app for travelers, check out the official Google Goggles page.

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  1. Wow – I could’ve used this at the Funeral Museum in Amsterdam. It was a great museum – but all in Dutch!

  2. Wow – I could’ve used this at the Funeral Museum in Amsterdam. It was a great museum – but all in Dutch!

  3. I LOVE this new tool. Thanks for sharing. I can think of a hundred ways to use this as I travel. I had to go try it out on books, a couple of menus I have in French, it worked every time.

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