Google Goggles Gets Update, Adds Translation Support


One of my absolute favorite apps for Android is Google Goggles, but in my experience it has had limited real-world use. This may be because my brain is not wired to rely on visual search, or it could be due to lack of functionality in every day situations. If it had anything to do with the latter, Google has upped the ante by adding translation in the latest release of Goggles.


To use translation is simple: use the new “region of interest” box to highlight the area of text you want translated, snap the picture, and if Goggles recognizes the text it will give you the option to translate. Select the source and destination languages, and enjoy your new freedom from the binds of language barriers. Currently Goggles supports English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish as source languages.


Along with translation support, Google Goggles v1.1 improves on the overall usefullness of the app. Barcode regognition is improved, there is a larger database of artwork, products, and logos, and the interface is tweaked. One of the other cool features added is the ability to perform a visual search with a photo already existing in your phone’s gallery.

Goggles is now one version closer to being less of a neat tech demo and more of a useful every day tool. I’m waiting for the day when I can truly perform any search I need just by snapping a picture, something that should be quite intuitive with today’s smartphones. The translation function actually works quite well, so for those who may be traveling or anyone who can’t seem to find the English instruction sheet for putting together that new lawnmower or bed — or whatever it is you need put together — this could actually come in very handy.

[via Google Mobile Blog]

Kevin Krause
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  1. I’ll download it to check if we can now turn off the flash while taking pictures. If not, the ability to take a picture from the camera app, then put it through the goggle app makes this possible, but with a few more steps.

  2. I couldn’t ever use it myself as I tried it a few times and it wouldn’t ever pick up the pictures.

  3. I could use this when taking notes in my classes! then I could just snap a picture of instructions when I don’t have a copy :D

  4. It force closes on my Nexus after the update =(

  5. How does one contribute to the image database/search that Goggles use? In my area, a lot of buildings/statues, etc are unrecognized by Goggles, and I’d like to contribute to that…

  6. Tested the updated version now, it’s great! Nice feature that it also detects auto which language the text is and then you can choose language to translate into. In fact, the supported languages are more than the ones in the article (maybe Goggles is already updated)

  7. Anyone using a Nexus with the phone? On my Nexus, it keeps force closing

  8. I wish i could use it on my devour, its not currently compatible with my phone due to lack of an autofocus camera. i wonder if thats going to be something they will look into in the future. maybe not since the techology seems to be progressing to only autofocus cameras.

  9. Worked for the most part on my Nexus. I tried translating some Spanish to English and it worked OK. Seemed best with one line of text.

    Regarding the option to save history of previous searches – that didn’t work. It tried connecting to my Google account but failed.

  10. No problems with Nexus One here

  11. Same here. Force closing after 2.2 update

  12. Worked great at first then stopped working–maybe after update, i’m not sure. Push the photo button and nothing happens. Try to import photo and it force quits. Garmin asus a50. Too bad because I was using it to identify art work from rumage sales and it was great when it actually worked.

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