Google Goggles is an image recognition mobile app developed by Google.
It is used for searches based on pictures taken by handheld devices. For example, taking a picture of a famous landmark searches for information about it, or taking a picture of a product's barcode would search for information on the product. [ Page on Google Play Store.]
At Google I/O 2017, a similar app Google Lens was announced that has similar functions as Goggles and uses the Google Assistant.
Google Goggles was developed for use on Google's Android operating system for mobile devices. While initially only available in a beta version for Android phones, Google announced its plans to enable the software to run on other platforms, notably iPhone
[PCWorld: Goggles will reach other platforms]
Google did not discuss a non-handheld format. On 5 October 2010, Google announced availability of Google Goggles for devices running iOS 4.0.
In a May 2014 update to Google Mobile for iOS, the Google Goggles feature was removed due to being "of no clear use to too many people."
The system could identify various labels or landmarks, allowing users to learn about such items without needing a text-based search. The system could identify products
or labels that allow users to search for similar products and prices,
and save codes for future reference, similar to the failed CueCat
of the late 1990s, but with more functionality. The system also recognized printed text and use optical character recognition (OCR) to produce a text snippet, and in some cases even translate the snippet into another language.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced in December 2011 its collaboration with Google to use Google Goggles for providing information about the artworks in the museum through direct Hyperlink
to the website
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
[ Metropolitan Museum Enhances Online Access to Its Collections with Google Goggles. New York, December 16, 2011; Thomas P. Campbell: Google Goggles (New York, December 16, 2011): I'm pleased to announce a new collaboration with Google that lets you take a picture of a work of art with your mobile device and link straight to more information on metmuseum.org.]
The final version of Google Goggles was 1.9
[Google Goggles Release Notes, visited 13 June 2011]
which adds several new features and improves both quality and ease of use. Goggles is specifically developed to run on mobile devices running the Android operating system and can be installed using Google Play
(formerly Android Market).
Although developed for Android there was an iPhone version, as part of the Google Search app, available from the iTunes Store or App Store. Goggles for iPhone required iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 or iOS 4.0 or higher to run.
In January 2011, version 1.3 was released; it could solve Sudoku puzzles.
[ Google Goggles gets faster, smarter and solves Sudoku, January 10, 2011, visited April 25, 2016.]
In late August 2012, Google launched an update to its Google Goggles app, version 1.9. This update put an emphasis on helping users shop by including improved product recognition and new recommendations that help users browse similar products.
[Weber, Harrison. August 23, 2012. "Google Goggles’ latest update makes it easier to shop IRL"]
Earlier versions of the Android app were able to load pictures from the phone's gallery, which had been removed in version 1.9.2; however, it could be worked around by sharing the image to the Goggles app from a file browser.
Google product manager Shailesh Nalawadi indicated that Google wanted Goggles to be an application platform, much like Google Maps
, not just a single product.