Google Goggles 1.1 Can Translate Text from Pictures
Article by George Norman
On 10 May 2010
Google Goggles, the application that lets you search for something by simply taking a picture of it, can now translate text from pictures. This is to say that you can take a picture of a menu written in French, and the application will translate what that menu says. This way you will not have to randomly guess items from the menu.

This type of functionality is not exactly news. Back in February Google’s CEO Erich Schmidt and scientist Hartmut Neven showcased this functionality at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the year’s biggest mobile event. By combining Google's machine translation with image recognition technologies, Google Goggles translated text from a photo.


At the time Hartmut Neven said this sort of functionality “only works for German-to-English translations and it's not yet ready for prime time.”

This is no longer the case. Google Goggles with the translate text from images functionality is now ready for the prime time. Google Goggles 1.1 for devices running Android 1.6 and higher is now available for download; the application can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and it can translate to a lot of other languages.

On behalf of the Google Mobile team, Software Engineers Alessandro Bissacco and Avi Flamholz explained how the app works:
  • Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words
  • Press the shutter button
  • If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate
  • Press the translate button to select the source and destination languages.

Besides the translate text from images functionality, Google Goggles 1.1 comes with the following new bits and pieces: enhanced user interface, improved barcode recognition, a larger corpus of artwork, recognition of many more products and logos, and the ability to initiate visual searches using images in your phone’s photo gallery.

If you would like to get Google Goggles 1.1 scan the QR code below.
If you have any problems using Google Goggles, visit Google’s Help Center here.

Tags: Google, Google Goggles
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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