Google “Goggles” Will Soon Find Your Photos

google gogglesIf you’re like me, you probably use your iphone/android/whatever phone camera as a visual journal. Certainly I shoot creative photos with it, but I’m also constantly generating snapshots of things I like, patterns, ideas, magazine covers, ads, and other stuff that act as inspiration or reminders for me to check out something in greater detail later when I’ve got more time.

Well, Google’s new-ish app “Google Goggles” capitalizes on this. Snap a photo, do a search with that photo as the input, and get results. I’m only just starting to play with it, but Google claims that in addition to text the app recognizes landmarks, books, wine, artwork, logos and more.

And, since I shoot a lot of advertising imagery, what really got my attention was when they recently announced advertising partnership “tests” with Disney, Buick, Delta, T-Mobile and Diageo. Use the app to snap a photo of certain enabled print adverts in a magazine, billboard, or whatever–hit “go”– and you’re suddenly immersed in a rich media experience with results galore to explore.

If this is the case, how soon will it be that all your images will be recognizable by visual search rather than simply the Google Goggle enabled campaigns, or the metadata attached to the image. Or even cooler, when your un-tagged images have been sniffed and are returned in search based on their pixel content. Will a search for “Toyota” soon return this image of mine, will a search for “diabetes” return this one, or perhaps even a search for “women’s underwear” might soon return even this one? I’m banking that it won’t be long.

I think my mind just exploded.

A couple videos about how Google Goggles works, plus a link to download the apps and find out more after the jump. Hit ‘continue reading’ below.

This vid is the original one about the basic functionality

This vid is the one that really got my attention, where Google announces it broadened effectiveness in partnerships with a handful of print advertisers.

Get the Google Goggles app for iPhone, Android, and find out more here.

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Dane says:

Thats amazing!!

brian says:

Pretty interesting developments indeed.

This is unrelated, but as I clicked through to your photo links from your blog post, I was reminded how much I dislike livebooks sites, and how painfully slow and annoying they are. Also, why on earth after making one click to your photo do I have to hit the back button like seven times to actually get back to the blog post. I know I’m not the target for your site, I come to your blog frequently, but never to your website. I quickly grow impatient waiting for photos to load there. I don’t even have a website yet, but I know for sure I don’t want anything remotely like a livebooks one. Just thought I should give some feedback on that. I imagine art directors or photo buyers or whomever your site is targeted toward likely have a shorter attention span for such things than I do.


brian says:

I’ve been using TinEye ( to search for similar photos on the net (and help identify authors and titles of works of art). It’s also good to see if someone else is putting your photos out on the net or using them for online dating sites, etc. I hope they bring Googles to the desktop/webbrowser as well!

SOoooooo weird. We were JUST talking about this today.

Thom Gourley says:

Google continues to innovate at an ever more amazing level. Thanks for posting this, Chase!

my mind has been blown!

Joshua Gull says:

Google Goggles is cool stuff for sure. Great post Chase.

Marco says:

Yes, cool. I don’t understand the surprise though. What did you think Computer Vision scientists had been working on for the past 20 years ;) ? When you visited CMU, they should have showed you around!

Very nice indeed..would look great as a photo painting. You can contact me if interested in a collaboration with painting artists for your clients’ photos…

Shawn says:

Is there a way we can goggle-ify our pictures to get the goggle to react on on our work?

Danny Maco says:

The fraunhafeur institute in Germany (with labs here in the US as well) has a similar technology that you can license for your own applications. Very powerful stuff !

Eric OConnor says:

WOW. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

I’ve been using it on Android over the last few months and it seems to do a great job. For photographers, it’ll be extra important to ensure you properly enter your contact details in the metadata fields so when someone else finds your image via a Goggles search, they’ll know who to contact for licensing.

“so simple but so complex”

You hit the nail on the head Chase, it’s like Brian Eno says, most things in the world require a large amount of input energy for not much return, this requires very little input to get a (potentially) big result.

I wonder if this can help photographers, image libraries, designers, artists, etc to keep a track of copyright infringements of their work?

Is this fully working in the U.K ?
all i can get is the Google App, can’t seem to launch google goggles

Nate says:

Goggles is part of the google app for the iPhone….

Ben says:

Also, how soon will you be able to find your photos being used without permission? I know there are sites like that now, but this would be very cool for that.

Danny Maco says:

Equally interesting question, since image recognition and facial recognition are evolving and improving at a similar clip, how long will it be before anyone can use these tools to search for a photo of you, all the photos you show up in, the metadata associated with it (location, time) from anywhere across the net? Hmmmmmm… that might make a few people nervous ;-o

Wow. Just…. WOW. I need an ANDROID Phone NOW – hahah

gabe s says:

Ive been using this for a while. I have Android, so I cant speak for iOS, but if you use it to take a picture of a business card, it will save the info into a contact.

John says:

Will keep an eye out for this and see how it develops, could be really cool

brence says:

Awesome! I am interested to see how far they go with this one. There could be some really interesting applications with this kind of technology.

Alex says:

Holy $#!^ Chase, I think my mind just exploded too.

Ken Mott says:

It is pretty impressive. I have used it on some things and it works pretty good.

I just wonder about the accuracy of it. You see a lot of 2D bar codes (QR, Microsoft Tag) now in adds and i think these provide a more reliable experience.

Cinpell says:

Agree. It’s more convenient to implement bar codes than use Goggles, And until now, I still can’t find goggles on app store.

richard lutz says:

Is it available for the iPhone? I can’t seem to find it. :(

Chase says:

indeed. there’s something magical and beautiful about it.

so simple but so complex. that’s the whole mind blowing thing i meant in the post…

That surely is most amazing. It won’t be long before we don’t have to tag the images we put on our websites for google to find out what is in our shots.

That is some pretty amazing stuff right there!

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