Overview Of The Google Goggles Computer Science Essay

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Previously searching was restricted to text based inputs only. But with the introduction of voice and image based search, searching has been made much more user friendly. Google Inc. has taken one more step in image based search for mobile devices. Google Goggles works on the principle of Image recognition. It provides an easy interface to take a picture and use the picture to search web and produce useful results. Google goggle is not just an image recognition application but provides much more functionalities. It uses Optical Character Recognition to extract text from the picture taken and translate the extracted text into any of the 40+ languages available on translate.googles.com. If the application fails to get an exact match of the image then it provides different categories to browse visually similar images.

Currently Google Goggles work well with monuments, logos, barcode, translates sign boards, converts one text language to another etc. But it lacks in providing good results on pictures of plant, animals, cars or furniture.


As of now, current version of Google Goggles is 1.9, launched in August 2012. Its technology uses C++ for back end and java for front end coding. Initially, it was developed for android operating systems but now software also runs on iPhone devices. It is available to all android devices running on Android 2.2 and above. On Android devices it could be freely downloaded and installed from Google Play. It also runs on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 devices with the Google Search App.


Google Goggles is an emerging technology and has many innovative and new features with every release of new version. Some of the features of Google Goggles are described below:

1. Google Translation: It can be done by selecting the region of interest from the text image and then converting it to another language. It uses the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature for this translation.

2. Barcode/QR code Detector: Using the image of barcode or quick response code, system identifies code and provides information about the product. New version of Google Goggles has a new feature which shows the similar products and their prices as an alternative for the searched product.

3. Continuous Mode: This feature allows user to find object information without taking pictures manually. Application scans a scene, uploads on Google server and provides result. It has a limitation of detecting text in continuous mode. A snapshot is required while working with the text images.

4. Contact Information: Application takes a snap of visiting/business card and adds card owner's contact information in the address book of mobile phone.

5. Search from camera: Each time a picture is taken from camera, application processes the image in background and notifies user whenever something relevant is found. This feature is disabled by default but one can enable it by going to the settings of the application.

6. Text Finder: This feature scans the long text and returns the whole copy present on the web. It is very useful feature to find online news articles, e-books and research papers on the web. Google Goggles version 1.7 adds this feature to the application.

7. Puzzle Solver: Application has intelligence to solve the Sudoku problem. Given the image of unsolved Sudoku, application solves it faster than human Sudoku Champ. Currently Google is also working to add intelligence that can suggest chess moves to the user when mid-game chess picture is given as an input.


Each new version released by the Google Inc. adds new and innovative features to the application making it more robust and user friendly. Some of the positives of the application are given below.

1. It makes user free from giving any text or voice query. User only needs to scan the picture using a camera and result would be given instantly. It makes the country familiar and provides good and relevant results for an input image.

2. One of the major positives of Google Goggles is that it has very simple and user friendly interface.

3. The Search from Camera is a great feature (if turned on) which enables the Google servers to search in the backend while tacking images from the gallery without requiring any intervention from the user. User is notified whenever something relevant is found.

4. Multiple results could be produced from a single image. For example if multiple logos are present in a single image then the application identifies both the logos with different coloured marks.

5. Option of Geo-Tagging could be used while taking

picture of a place so as to enhance the Google maps or the area specific search results.


Although Google Goggles comes with very simple and user friendly UI, it has certain drawbacks that developers should try to remove in later versions. Few are described below:

1. While taking picture all the features of the camera are not loaded in normal and continuous mode such as brightness control, flash control (no support for auto flash), image quality etc.

2. Application doesn't work on compressed or poor

quality image.

3. The inbuilt feature of choosing 'area of interest' by cropping the image using square box is ineffective. Currently only box shape could be selected as the area of interest but more shapes like circular or manually cropping the shape should be provided so that user can crop area of interest in a better way and get better results.


Google Inc. is working for the improvement of this application. Some of the features on which Google Team is working are to recognise the leaves of the plant that can help in aiding diseases and providing advices in a chess game. It is also working on the improvement of search results, processing of low quality or compressed images and 3D rendering.


According to the Google Play, 129,605 have rated an application with an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Most users believe that application is good with innovative and new features but needs more work on the accuracy of the application. Some of them said input image quality makes a huge impact on the accuracy of results. Users are happy with the application performance in barcode scanner and logos identification. Some of the users complains about the application crash and hang when provided a picture and advices to improve the technology as it has a great scope in future.


In our view Google goggles is a new innovative application. Google has tried to make it as a complete application platform and not just a single product. It has some great features like continuous mode, search from camera, information extractor from contact cards, geo-tagging etc. All these features could be used to enhance the searching capabilities of user as well as the Google itself.

In spite of being a great step it has some negatives. Not inclusions of all camera features, limitation to shape of 'region of interest' are some of the major drawbacks in the application. We hope that developers will try to come over these drawbacks in later versions so as to make this application more effective.

We have tested this application on many pictures and it amazed us with the correct and fast results. Few images are given below for the reference.

Fig: Left picture, app correctly identified the book with author name and recommend similar books as well. For right picture, app identified the product logo correctly.


Google Goggles is an innovative application with some great features like continuous mode, translator and barcode reader but need a work on its accuracy and in processing of low quality images. Application is in technological progress, getting better with each new version released adding new features and improving previous ones. Google Goggles has a good scope in future.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Goggles

[2] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.androi d.apps.unveil&hl=en

[3] http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&ans wer=166331.

[4] http://googlesystem.blogspot.in/2011/12/continuous-mode-in- google-goggles.html.