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App Watch: Searching Without Words

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Google Goggles


At some point, scientists think, you’ll be able to point a lens at almost any object and get information about what you’re seeing. Imagine seeing a shirt you like and learning quickly who makes it, where it’s sold and how much it costs. Or seeing a building and learning its history and whether you can rent space in it.

Google is among the companies working on this technology--known as augmented reality--and its Google Goggles application for Android phones provides a very early look at some of the possibilities. The app, which is free, allows users to take pictures of things like paintings and landmarks and automatically conduct a search based on the image.

In a test, the app was able to identify brands, two-dimensional artwork and things like buildings from Google Street View. Google Goggles has a big “wow” factor, but it’s still a long way from a sci-fi style world with data at your fingertips.

From The Wall Street Journal
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