When Google Goggles was launched in late 2009 it was an extraordinary piece of software and has since added a host of new features. However with other software such as Word Lens coming to the market, continued improvement of Goggles has been necessary.
And so we get Google Goggles 1.3 which adds a number of new features such as improved barcode scanning, recognition of print ads in popular magazines and newspapers and the ability to solve your Sudoku problems. The new version will be available on Android and iOS, however the iPhone version will not include the improved barcode scanning.
Barcode scanning has been included in Goggles since the start but is now a lot faster and smoother according to Google. Open Goggles and hover over the barcode or QR code. Within a second the phone gently vibrates and presents results, without requiring a button press. Simply tap on the result to read product reviews, check in-store availability and compare prices.
Recognition of print ads seems like a handy addition to the Goggles app. Simply take a picture of an ad you see while flipping through a newspaper or magazine and the image recognition software will recognize it and return web search results about the product or brand. Unfortunately this feature will only work for print ads appearing in major U.S. magazines and newspapers from August 2010 onwards. Hopefully this feature will be extended to publications from other parts of the world in future editions.
Finally, one of the most interesting innovations in version 1.3 is the ability to solve Sudoku problems. As you can see in the video below, all you need to do is take a snap of the problem and Goggles will do the rest. From our point of view, the satisfaction of Sudoku is solving the problem yourself, though if we are getting particularly frustrated with a problem, this app could save a lot of hair pulling and finger gnashing.
Google Goggles 1.3 with improved barcode scanning is available for download in the Android Market. Recognition of print ads and Sudoku solver is now enabled for the Google Goggles app on Android, as well as the Goggles component of the Google Mobile App on iPhone.