Google image search is like a reverse lookup phone directory.
Ever find an image and wonder where it came from? Just drag and drop a photo into the Google image search input box and Google will find similar images, and pages / info about the image. It even makes a "best guess" at the "author" of the image. I found this image posted to someone's Tumblr a few days ago. It had no credit/info on it, and I had no idea where it came from. I dragged it into the Google image search input box, and I immediately found the photographer and more photos from the same shoot: Phoebe Rudomino. (http://phoeberudomino.com
) (For those of you who read my snorkeling post, you can probably guess how I happened across this image.)
Anyway, this is an incredibly useful tool. I've been testing it out for the last hour or so.
The applications are endless.
1) Identify an interesting place, historical landmark, famous building, statue or piece of art.
2) Identify the photographer artist / creator of the image you drag into the search box.
3) Identify a person. Basically works like facial recognition, but better. It returns all kinds of results about the subject. It doesn't just match a person to a name. I've often seen images of celebrities on G+ and thought "who's that?" Drag the image into the box and Google can tell you.
4) Upload a photo you took, and see info on it & similar photos of the same place. Are you reading this?! I just dragged a photo from my desktop of a waterfall photo I took this afternoon -- a photo that I took on my camera -- and Google told me what waterfall it was, and showed me other people's photos of it.
Pretty nifty. :-)
5) Photographers can find out how their photos have been used around the web.
And this brings us to Google Goggles. Have you tried this thing!? Google Goggles is a visual search app for your phone. Just take a photo of something, and Google will do a search based on that photo. One of the "bonus" features is that it has translation. Standing on a street corner in Italy and can't read the sign? Just point your phone at it and snap -- instant translation appears. I had the pleasure of meeting one the founders of Google Goggles a few months ago. I was looking at his new technology so I hadn't tried Google Goggles yet. There's some amazing work going on in this field.
I think someday this technology will really make shopping easier. It'll be like everything
has a UPC code built-in, whether its been tagged or cataloged by a human or not. It already does that for books. Snap a photo of a book and it'll bring up a listing of the book. But imagine if you could snap a photo of Kim Kardashian and you'll know what dress and shoes she's wearing and you'll be able to buy it with one click?
And as if all this weren't enough, do you see where this is going? When you're out walking around with your smartphone, you're going to be able to point your phone camera at anything and Google Goggles is going to be like the Google search box "type ahead" function, it'll start identifying objects in the camera field "Oak Tree. Blue Heron (bird). Clouds, The Empire State Building. Soup Plantation" etc. Just tap an item and you'll be doing a "search" of anything your camera sees. Fun stuff. :-) OK, shutting up now. As you can tell, I love it.