5. Google Goggles
I’ve saved the best for last, and Google Goggles , a Google app exclusive to the Android OS, is easily one of the coolest reasons to own an Android smartphone. Using your camera and a plethora of Google’s resources, your phone can give you information on nearly anything you show it. Take a picture of just about anything and run it automatically through Google’s search engine to see what information Google can return. This will help you to easily identify products you might be looking to buy, or to get quick information about various things such as famous landmarks, paintings and other images, or company information by taking a photo of a corporate logo. You can take a photo of someone’s contact information on something like a business card, and Goggles will recognize that contact info and give you the option to call that person, or to add them to your phone’s contact list with the click of a button. All the photos you take to search with can be saved to be viewed later or discarded once you’re done with the search. And without even taking a picture, you can point your phone at buildings, and Google Goggles will overlay any Google Maps information it has such as the address, and for businesses, the name. Perhaps my favorite feature of the technology, you can quickly translate any text you snap a photo of. Just take a picture of text in a foreign language (Google Goggles can currently read English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish) and your phone will use Google Translate to translate it back into any of 17 languages. This is great for anyone who travels, helping you to get around in foreign countries, making it easier to shop for things, or even helping you to order food in a restaurant or buy tickets to a live show. Google Goggles is a fairly new technology, and Google does admit that it’s in its infancy. This means that its accuracy will not be one hundred percent, and from time to time, you will have to try taking the photo a couple of times. There are also things it doesn’t understand yet. You can’t take a picture of your dog and have it return the breed, but searches like that are exactly the sort of thing Google sees in the future for this technology. (Specifically mentioned in their video as things Goggles can’t do yet but that they want it to do in the future are the examples of taking a picture of a chess game in progress to have your phone suggest a move, or taking a picture of a leaf to have your phone tell you what plant it came from.)
Google Goggles is available exclusively for the Android OS 1.6 or higher, and you will also need a phone with a camera that has an auto-focus feature.