Google Goggles Adds Language Translation, Available Now

Google is quickly becoming synonymous with innovation, as if they weren't already. The same company that turned the search market upside-down is now doing the same for mobile, as Android continues to innovate and impress while the other guys stand around thinking about their next move. Google Goggles is a concept that came to life awhile back, but many people found minor quirks that made it somewhat less awesome than advertised.

But this may very well turn things around. As the world continues to become more global in scope, knowing various languages is becoming more and more important. That's far easier said than done, and Google knows it. They're on a mission to bridge the language gap as quickly as possible, and while their online translation services works wonders on web pages, adding the service to Goggles is one of the most impressive things yet for mobile.

Starting today, Android users (1.6 and newer) can download a free update to Google Goggles that allows the images you snap to be analyzed for foriegn text. If you see a sign in a language you don't understand, just load up Goggles, take a picture and await the translation. It's as simple as that. So much for telling that overseas cop that you simply didn't understand the road signs...

Here’s how it works:

    * Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words
    * Press the shutter button
    * If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate
    * Press the translate button to select the source and destination languages.

The first Goggles translation prototype was unveiled earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and could only recognize German text. Today Goggles can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and can translate to many more languages. We are hard at work extending our recognition capabilities to other Latin-based languages. Our goal is to eventually read non-Latin languages (such as Chinese, Hindi and Arabic) as well.

Every new release of Google Goggles contains at least one new feature and a large number of improvements to our existing functionality. In addition to translation, Goggles v1.1 features improved barcode recognition, a larger corpus of artwork, recognition of many more products and logos, an improved user interface, and the ability to initiate visual searches using images in your phone’s photo gallery.

Computer vision is a hard problem. While we are excited about Goggles v1.1, we know that there are many images that we cannot yet recognize. The Google Goggles team is working on solving the technical challenges required to make computers see. We hope you are as excited as we are about the possibilities of visual search.