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Scan and Translate Text with Google Goggles

How much can you do with a camera on a smartphone? The folks at Google Labs are determined to keep opening the aperture by pouring technology into their Google Goggles app to do all kinds of visual searches (see earlier post on Google Shopper and Google Goggles).

With the new Google Goggles version 1.1 released this week, you now can scan photos of text in five languages (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish), copy the text, and/or translate it to these and twelve other languages.

Goggles already recognized all kinds of objects -- logos, products, artwork, landmarks -- and looks up information about them. Plus it scans business cards to extract the contact information.

So now you can shoot the cover of a book or CD to look up the product information, zoom in on artwork to look up the artist, and then focus on the text to scan and translate it.

Goggles also has added a crop rectangle that you can position to select the portion of the image that you want to scan, and control for the flash to better illuminate what you are shooting. And you can do searches on images in the phone's photo gallery.

And beyond visual searches of images. Goggles also has a heads-up "Augmented Reality" mode in which it overlays Google Local information about near-by places as you pan the live camera around your location (see earlier post on AR apps).

Google Goggles is a free app, available for Android devices running Android 1.6 and above (like, of course, the new Verizon / HTC Droid Incredible -- see previous post).

What's up next? -- How about face finding and face recognition ...

See my Smartphone Apps Gallery for more on mobile apps

See my article Augmented Reality Goes Mobile - for more on AR apps, including Google Goggles

Find the Verizon Droid Incredible on Amazon.com.

What's new in Google Goggles version 1.1 ...

- Scan and translate text

(If text found, recognizes and does search;

Tap Translate for other languages; Tap text box to edit, long press to copy)

- Input languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish

- Output languages: Plus Afrikaans, Albanian, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Galician, Icelandic, Irish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish

- Search using images in phone photo gallery
(from Photo app, share to Google Goggles)
- Recognition of more artwork, products and logos
- Improved barcode recognition
- Camera flash control: Auto, on, off
- Crop rectangle to select region of interest in camera image
- Improved user interface

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