Google Goggles now identifies print ads, solves Sudoku

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Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced in a blog post this week that it has made some updates to its super cool visual search tool: Google Goggles. For those who aren't familiar with Goggles, it lets you point your phone's camera at an object, picture or landmark and Google identifies the item and gives you links to more information. It's pretty neat and works amazingly well.

While on a recent trip to Boston, I used it on my iPhone to identify the art work in subway ad for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. After a quick analysis, it identified each picture (or the person in the portrait) and gave me links to more information.

Google has added some new features including a faster bar code reader for Android users. I guess others will have to wait for this, but according to the post, you simply "...hover over the bar code or QR code. Within a second the phone gently vibrates and presents results, without requiring a button press. Simply tap on the result to read product reviews, check in-store availability and compare prices."

In addition, Goggles can now identify major U.S. print advertising campaigns. If you are reading a print magazine and want to know more about a product in an ad, you shoot a picture of the ad, Google identifies it and delivers search results about the product or service.

If that's not enough, Google Goggles actually recognizes Sodoku puzzles games and helps you solve them.

You can see how this type of search is more natural and doesn't require you to explicitly enter information (or even know what you're looking at) to get results. The Sudoku feature, while fun, could actually lead to more practical help in solving logical problems in the future.

For more information:
- see the Google Mobile Blog post

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