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Google Launches Image & Real Time Searches

Gordon Kelly


With the ever growing presence of Bing, Google needs to keep pushing out useful new features - like these...

The Menlo Park based giant has announced two major additions to its armoury: image and real time searches. Both are big news, with image searches initially added into Android based smartphones allowing photos to be taken with the camera and results then shown in the browser.

The - as usual quirky - Google video (above) does a good job of explaining this, giving the example of taking a picture of a book cover to get information about that title, as well as paintings and landmark information. On top of this local businesses can be identified with augmented reality picking out data while even business cards can be photographed and their details recognised. For the security conscious/conspiratorial user image search histories can be disabled in settings.

Google admits image search is still "in its infancy" and says food, product, cars, animals, furniture and plant recognition has yet to be implemented. That said, it is an important first step and can be downloaded from Android Marketplace under the name 'Google Goggles' now. Expect other platforms to get image search soon, while it would be handy to add into laptops which almost all feature integrated web cams these days.

Next is real time search, something we've widely expected since the agreements between Bing Google and Twitter. Consequently when searching users will be able to cycle through live updates from across the likes of Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, MySpace, Jaiku and Identi.ca (yes, best change your security preferences if you want extra privacy). Live blog results are also being added into breaking news.

As always, the roll-out of this feature will be incremental with English language searches the first to benefit. You'll be able to see these results using the 'Latest results' link or selecting 'Latest' from the search options menu. A 'hot topics' section has also been built into Google Trends which has now dropped its beta tags and moved out of Labs (a graduation also matched this week by Offline Gmail).

So important, but absolutely vital, changes - keep em coming Google!


Google Goggles

Google Real Time search blog announcement

Offline Gmail blog announcement


December 8, 2009, 6:46 pm

Gah, it's not avaliable on Cupcake (1.5), Just Dohnut and Éclair :(


December 8, 2009, 8:25 pm

For those you that are confused:

Cupcake - 1.5 Donut - 1.6

And Eclair is 2.0

In theory you can go from 1.5 to 1.6 but in practise the whole thing is a mess. I'm guessing you don't use an Android handset or you would have mentioned something about this, Gordon?

To update go to:

1. Settings

2. About phone (at the bottom)

3. System Updates

4. Press download (1.6 is 48mb)

5. Restart the handset

6. Pray (Didn't work for me)


December 8, 2009, 9:02 pm

@Williamn - I don't, though most Android users I know have seamlessly upgraded to 1.6 OTA without any problems so the warning didn't appear necessary.


December 8, 2009, 9:55 pm

That is if version 1.6 is even available to you? Ive got a Tmobile pulse coming tomorrow (£90 delivered, thanks to the price cut and recent 33% offer) but I believe that the manufacturers have yet to release the 1.6 firmware upgrade for the phone yet. Curses, no Google Goggles for me yet then....


December 8, 2009, 10:43 pm

Curse on Android - too fast too furious..


December 8, 2009, 10:56 pm


True. It seems it's only people with unlocked handsets that didn't get 1.6.


December 9, 2009, 4:05 am

Ah well, there's always Tineye...


December 9, 2009, 6:02 pm

I hope there's a way to switch 'real time' searches off. The last thing I want are inane mutterings from Twitter or Facebook poluting my searches.....


December 9, 2009, 6:08 pm

@Stewart: My thoughts exactly

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