Goggles turns Android into pocket translator

May 6, 2010: 3:55 PM ET

The mobile application for Android got updated today with the ability to snap a picture of some words and instantly translate them into the language of the owner.

Google's Goggles mobile application has always been a fun tool.  The idea is that if you snap a picture and upload it to Google (as well as your location/time), Google could present more about that object, and by extension, your surroundings.  It isn't always terribly accurate in identifying what is in the picture, but the results are sometimes helpful, if not amusing.

Today, Goggles got a very specific use feature that will help travelers and readers of foreign language texts immensely.  Now you can point your Android camera at a sign, book, or any sort of foreign word, snap a picture,  and get a translation.  Google uses optical character recognition, or OCR, to turn the image into words, and then uses its translation services to turn those words into a language you recognize. See the illustration below:

Google also announced other improvements today: "Goggles v1.1 also features improved barcode recognition, a larger corpus of artwork, recognition of many more products and logos, an improved user interface, and the ability to initiate visual searches using images in your phone's photo gallery."

Goggles 1.1 is available at the Android Market for devices running OS 1.6 and above.  It isn't certain if Google will build out this application for other mobile operating systems.

Join the Conversation
About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

Email Seth
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.