How (and why) to use Google Goggles

How (and why) to use Google Goggles
Despite its name, Google Goggles is just an app, and, hopefully, no one's mistaking it for the high-tech Google Glass wearable device. Initially released as an experimental app (in late 2009), Google Goggles can now be considered a fully fledged application - one that could certainly be useful in various scenarios. In case you didn't get the chance to discover Goggles until now, allow us to tell you how and why to use it.

First things first: Google Goggles is exclusively available on Android (it was also available on iOS, but only until last year). It doesn't come pre-installed on any device, so you'll have to visit Google Play to download it on your smartphone or tablet.

After you download and install Goggles, fire it up - you'll notice that its interface resembles the interface of a camera app. That's because it kind of is a camera app. Goggles uses your camera to recognize products, logos, famous landmarks and works of art, to scan bar codes and QR codes, to scan and translate text, and even to solve Sudoku puzzles.

Usually, QR codes are scanned instantly: you just have to open Google Goggles and point the camera to a code. The same might work for bar codes, but sometimes the app is struggling to recognize them directly, so you have to snap a photo (within the app - just like you'd do with any regular camera app), and only then the code will be scanned. For the best results, you have to activate the "Search from camera" option - this can be found in Google Goggles' settings menu (as seen in the slideshow below). Obviously, you need an internet connection for the app to work - you can choose to enable it only when Wi-Fi is on, or both via Wi-Fi and cellular.

Scanning text is easy if there's a decent amount of light. If not, Goggles lets you use your camera flash to light up the scene. You can crop certain areas of an image, so you can scan just the piece of text that interests you. After the text is scanned, you can either copy it, or translate it. Besides English, Google Goggles can read text in seven other languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish), and can translate it in many more. Another thing that Google Goggles can do is scan business cards, thus letting you quickly add a person's contact details into your phone.

All in all, Google Goggles is one of the best image recognition / code scanning apps available on Android. It's definitely not without flaws, but it can be fast and convenient, and Google is most likely working to greatly improve it. Right now, the app's got between 10 and 50 million installs, but there are obviously many users out there who haven't tested it (for comparison, most of Google's popular apps have been downloaded at least 100 million times).

Have you tried Google Goggles? Do you find it useful?


download: Google Goggles

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12 Comments

1. HerpDerpMapleSerp

Posts: 52; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Oh yes. Extremely useful. I'm sure we all find a pack of orbitz gum and not know what it is, and wish we had an app to identify it for us.

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

But it can be nice to identify paintings or even landmarks. You can be in paris, scan the Eiffel tower and it will bring up a lot of information about the Eiffel tower. And you might know Orbitz gum,most non Americans don't (including me). So it can be handy to identify products in stores abroad.

2. Techfriend

Posts: 34; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

If u don't find it useful don't click on it is's so simple !!

3. Rigbaby

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

The interface needs a material design update

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Also it should be integrated in Google Search and Google Now

4. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I got a feeling that this will be integrated into the Google Search app one day

5. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

This is as far the most under-rated app by Google. Google neither updates it, nor merge this app into Search app. If Google had given a little more love, then by now, we would have seen far greater capabilities.

8. Mfa901

Posts: 291; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

I use it to scan text form images and copy paste them

9. abi_pratap

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 25, 2015

One of the best application by Google.

10. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I used to have it installed. Then one day I my computer at work had a fatal failure, so I decided to take a picture of it to send the error in the screen to the support group. I got a message from Google Googles: "would you like to go to the DELL site now? This page could help you with your computer error - link to DELL support site". Then I uninstalled it. I want an application that gives me information when I want, not one that spies on every picture I take. I´m not sure if it is still does the same.

11. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

This is similar to what Google Now is doing collect data and participate user needs. Soon all three mobile OS will be able to do this. Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. We can switch off the feature just like what I did will Google Now but nobody knows for sure whether the data are still been sent regardless. Google Now make my device drain a bit more battery that why I have it off. I am not concern with data sent to Google.

12. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Isn't this basically a better version of Amazon Firefly?

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