Cloud // Cloud Storage
04:12 PM
Connect Directly
Core System Testing: How to Achieve Success
Oct 06, 2016
Property and Casualty Insurers have been investing in modernizing their core systems to provide fl ...Read More>>

Google Goggles Translates Text In Images

The Android-based image recognition software can now read text in five languages and offer a translation in many more.

At the Web 2.0 Expo on Thursday, conference co-chair and publisher Tim O'Reilly observed, "If you invent for the world that exists now, you're behind the curve."

As an example of this maxim -- attributed by O'Reilly to technologist Ray Kurzweil and strikingly similar to hockey great Wayne Gretsky's advice "to skate where the puck's going, not where it's been" -- O'Reilly pointed to Google's substantial investment in translation technology.

Google, in other words, is inventing the technological infrastructure of the future, where the U.S. and English play a smaller role and other countries and languages have become more active online.

ICANN's announcement on Wednesday that for the first time on the Internet, non-Latin alphabet characters are being used for top-level Internet domains offers evidence of this trend.

So it is that Google is continuing to invest in ways to bridge gaps of language and culture. On Thursday, the company announced the availability of a new feature in Google Goggles to translate text captured in an image.

Previously, Google Goggles allowed users of Android mobile phones to take pictures of certain things -- landmarks, contact information, books, artwork, places, wine labels, and product logos -- and to submit the resulting images as visual queries. Ideally, Google's image recognition technology would then deliver search results identifying the objects.

Google has now extended the range of things its system can recognize to include text in five languages. The company demonstrated a prototype of this technology that could only recognize German in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"Today Goggles can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and can translate to many more languages," said Google engineers Alessandro Bissacco and Avi Flamholz in a blog post. "We are hard at work extending our recognition capabilities to other Latin-based languages. Our goal is to eventually read non-Latin languages (such as Chinese, Hindi and Arabic) as well."

Google Goggles v1.1 is available on devices running Android 1.6 and higher. To download it, scan the QR code on Google's blog post or visit Google's Android Market and search for "google goggles."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.