Scan Biz Cards Into Your Phone with Google Goggles

Sure you can hire one of those fancy business card scanning services. Or you can get all that juicy, paper-bound contact info into your digital assistant with the very much free Google Goggles. Google Goggles permits searching the Web using pictures taken with your mobile phone. When describing, speaking or typing your search query just won’t cut it, simply open the app, snap a picture, and wait for your search results. You can get it on your Android phone via dedicated app or on your iPhone via the Google Search app.

But Goggles can do more. When you snap a picture of a business card (or any contact info on a page for that matter) you get the option to add it to your contact list. Goggles doesn’t just recognize the image as text, it will recognize it as a contact and open the appropriate action item on your phone. Pretty freaking cool.

Want to see how? Check out the Demo Slam video below. And start snapping.

A Big Day for Google. Big. Day.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

For those interested in search, today was a little of the Christmas-come-early variety. Google announced a group of new features that may well change how humans interact with news on the Web and on their mobile phones.

Starting with the star of the show, Google unveiled its long anticipated real-time search. Following partnerships with Facebook, MySpace, Friendfeed, Jaiku,, and Twitter, the new Google results page will show the traditional popular items along with the latest breaking items from the real-time Web. This will allow searchers to view both the most popular items as well as tweets, blog posts, and news items as they are published. Check out the sample screen shot from the Google blog:

Clicking “latest” in search options brings the goods. “Latest” will work in conjunction with Google Trend’s hot topics as well. It is not yet available to everyone, but keep a look out – it will be rolled out very, very soon.

That’s not all. Mobile is all the rage and is only becoming more popular and ubiquitous. Google recognizes this reality and has been developing fantastic mobile information tools to make search even more powerful. Google also has been banking on moving computing firmly into the atmosphere.

Google Voice is not new, but Google reaffirmed its commitment to voice search today and introduced search capability in Japanese.  Google also announced plans to move voice search way into the future with automatic translation across languages simultaneous with the search function.

Next, to compliment “My Location”, real-time traffic and turn by turn navigation, Google is looking to leverage location functionality by returning information about your surroundings. It’s called “What’s Nearby” on Google Maps, found on Android 1.6 or later. Soon, this function will be available on iPhone via a “Near me now” button. Not quite as soon, but in the new year, the results will also show local product inventory and location-specific search terms.

Finally, and perhaps the most geeky-tech-worthy announcement of the day, enter Google Goggles, for mobile phones. Take a picture with the phone camera and Google will match the image to its own massive databases and return relevant information about the object. It currently works for landmarks, art objects and products. Goggles is for Android, but undoubtedly will expand as it is developed. Sounds a bit like augmented reality, search style.

You can check out more about Google Real Time here.

You can check out more about Google Mobile here.

While kudos goes to Google for pushing the search envelope even further and rushing the future, the real win here goes to the users! I can’t wait.

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