When Google Goggles meet Marvel superheroes
It is a list you can opt out of, but for humor's sake I strongly suggest you don’t. Over the last two years, I’ve seen adverts sent around with the following subjects:
Who fancies playing Netball tomorrow evening?
Free back rubs this Friday
2 x Lightsaber replicas for sale
I thought it was impressive the seller decided to outline that the lightsabers were replicas to avoid any UN intervention in what would have been no doubt, an illegal arms trade.
However, the prize for best random email surely goes to a certain IT chap for this gem:
“Random one, is anybody particularly good at identifying Marvel comic characters (pictured above)? I’ve got an illustration of one, but haven’t a clue who he is and I need to know...”
The first question I asked myself was if it was morally ok to assist the unnamed IT chap in the fraudulent act of apparent pub quiz cheating. Secondly however, I wondered why they didn’t jump straight to Google Image search or Google Goggles.
I’m a Google fanboy through and through so this was my first instinct. For the uninitiated, Google Image search allows you to search with an image, instead of your voice or text. It’s an amazing tool for finding similar images, finding the source of a picture or apparently, identifying lesser known comic book characters, which it did perfectly as you can see below.
Google Goggles does a similar thing, but for your phone. If you’ve an Android handset, you can even set it up to scan every photo you take with your phone. I’ve taken to calling it my Tricorder (obligatory Star Trek reference) as I’ll find myself taking a picture of something and then my phone spitting out related information back at me, unprompted.
For instance, I can take a picture of Big Ben, and it’ll throw up the Wikipedia entry for Big Ben. Or I can take a picture of a MacBook and it’ll show me a link to the Apple Store. Or take a picture of a book and it’ll show you the price of the book online and where to buy it from.
Try them out for yourself. Unfortunately, I was too late with my technological solution this time, it turns out Imagination has a healthy population of comic book fans.
I also think it raises a wider issue of how little known some Google apps are outside of the tech community. Take Goggles, and this is obviously anecdotal, but I’ve yet to meet someone else that has heard of Goggles, and it’s been out since 2009. Now, maybe it’s not good enough to have gone “viral”, or maybe its down to Google not thinking it worth marketing. But to me it seems a shame, as features like Image Search and Goggles offer the user small, unexpected moments of joy. No, they are not perfect and sometimes Goggles gets it completely wrong, but when we live in a world where you can take a picture of a comic book, and instantly return the characters name and history, in my view, that’s a pretty magical moment for the first time user.