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Put Your Google Goggles On!

Yan Matusevich
2

Google Goggles has been tipped to become the app of the year. It's not suprising that Google is behind this project given the fact that Google is known to be ingenious at just about everything. Find out what looking at the world around you using Google Goggles is really like in today's test report.

4 ★★★★

Rating

Tested version Latest version
1.2.1 1.9.3

Features & Use

Google Goggles does a good job of marketing itself as the next greatest thing. It gives you the impression that it can take on virtually any challenge and recognize any item, barcode or image. Having tried out the app over an entire week, I have to admit that Google does a pretty amazing job here.

Let me first list the things that Goggles can't possibly recognize: animals, furniture and clothing. These items are way to difficult for an Android app to discern, so this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Goggles still boasts some impressive categories of items:

Books and DVD's: Goggles does a perfect job in this category. It takes less than 3 seconds for the app to identify one of these objects. The app was even able to identify books in foreign languages (e.g. Russian). Very impressive!

Landmarks: Great results here, as well. Although it isn't capable of recognizing your generic one-story family home, it definitely won't have a problem identifying the Empire State Building in NYC or the Louvre in Paris. Within a couple of seconds, you get photos and information about any well known landmark around the world.

Logos: Works without any problems with virtually any logo.

Contact Infos (Business Cards): Works great for the most part, but some minor errors can occur. The app has a problem differentiating between small case “e” and “c”. Aside from that, most regular business cards are not sweat for Goggles.

Artwork: This category is absolutely mind boggling! I searched for fairly well known pieces of art in Google Images and then displayed them on my computer's browser. It took the app under 3 seconds every time to correctly identify each artwork with the camera. Goggles was even successful at recognizing one of Michelangelo's sculptures. Simply unbelievable!

Businesses: A total failure! Goggles wasn't able to correctly identify a single business! You would think that a powerful app like this would have no probably recognizing your local corner grocery store, but in reality Goggles failed to identify such major global companies as McDonalds and KFC.

Products: So-so. Goggles only seems to react to expensive and really well known products (e.g. Chanel). Everything else is hit or miss. Washing machines, vacuum cleaners and other home electronics don't come up with any results. This makes Goggles pretty useless in your local supermarket.

Barcodes: Fairly average results. The more expensive the product, the higher the chances that it will get recognized. You can forget about most of your generic supermarket brands. During my test, the app successfully identified perfumes, microwaves and televisions. Totally random!

Texts: Same idea as with the business cards. Mediocre results. Has difficulty recognizing most texts, but managed to translate a user manual from Spanish to English without any problem.

Bottom Line: Despite some of its faults and drawbacks, a pretty useful app that is here to stay on my phone.

Screen & Controls

Google Goggles is simply and easy to use with great intuitive controls. It also includes a short tutorial (Menu->Tutorial or comes up automatically at first start-up), which teaches you about all the intricacies of this app. Keep your camera lens clean and take snapshots in well lit places for better results!

Speed & Stability

Although Google Goggles ran smoothly for the most part, I did experience three or four force closures during my test. Nevertheless, I feel like the app deserves 4 stars here because it takes only a couple of seconds to restart the app.

Price/Performance Ratio

Google Goggles is available for free from the Android Market. I can't make myself give this app all 5 stars because the app is still far from perfect.
 

Screenshots

Put Your Google Goggles On! Put Your Google Goggles On! Put Your Google Goggles On! Put Your Google Goggles On! Put Your Google Goggles On!

Comparable Apps

Developer

Google Inc.

Comments

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  • Bruce Youngren Jan 8, 2011 Link

    I am not seeing the practical usefulness of GG. Do people use this app on a regular basis and if so, for what?

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  • Yan Matusevich Jan 26, 2011 Link

    I think you can use this app to scan a product at a store and get a quick overview of prices at other stores (both online and retail).

    Many stores have a "match any lower price policy", so you could use this information to lower the price on a product. That's just one example I can think of.

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