Google Goggles – image-initiated search app for Android phones

Fresh from the boffins in Google Labs, a new app for Android phones was released overnight, called Google Goggles.

Downloadable now from the Android Marketplace, Google Goggles allows you to use pictures taken with an Android phone’s camera to search Google. The Goggles system uses object recognition, OCR, face matching, etc to return – hopefully – relevant search results.

Google notes that some images work better with Goggles than others – what works well are “pictures of books & DVDs, landmarks, logos, contact info, artwork, businesses, products, barcodes, or text. Currently, it’s not so good when taking pictures of animals, plants, cars, furniture, or apparel.

It’s early days for this app yet, and remember, it is a Google Labs product, so it’s not anywhere near an ‘official’ finished product. To quote Google:

“Google Labs is a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them. Please note that Labs is the first phase in a lengthy product development process and none of this stuff is guaranteed to make it onto While some of our crazy ideas might grow into the next Gmail or iGoogle, others might turn out to be, well, just plain crazy.”

Google Goggles video

Here’s a short video introducing Google Goggles, narrated by two of the staff working on the project.