Android’s pin-up boy, Google Goggles shot to app-fame with its useful features and attention-grabbing functionality. After almost a year of waiting, it’s finally brought its voice and image searching functionality to iPhone.
We’ve split the apps functionality into three key categories relevant to what you’ll use it for – browsing the web, buying things and business uses.
The best feature for busy internet browsers is voice search. If you want to look something up without the hassle of typing, simply click the microphone icon in the top-right and begin speaking. The app detects both when you’ve started and stopped speaking, returning Google search results within the app.
The service also uses your GPS location (if selected) to work out close-by results and displays them on a Google Map. If you’re in a non-GPS friendly area, you can choose an area to search near, by entering a city, street address or post code.
By far the most useful feature for shoppers is the image search. Like many apps, you can scan a barcode to find prices and details about the product online. Only Google Goggles, however, lets you photo the product’s box, which Google will then try to find online. It’ll return results based on the image itself, or text on the image. For DVDs and album covers it works surprisingly well. It’s perfect for seeing something in a shop, then checking online where to buy it for cheaper.
With the built-in optical character reader, Google Goggles can turn any photo of writing into search-friendly text. For contact details, such as phone numbers or e-mail addresses, the app will recognise the details and ask if you want to add them to your phonebook. Great for digitising that huge swathe of business cards you’ve got lying around.