London, Dec 8 (ANI): A new tool has been launched by search engine Google that enables its users to locate information by using pictures instead of words.
Google Goggles, a free augmented reality application for Google Android mobile phones, allows people to search for information on anything simply by taking a photo of that object.
The application can recognise tourist attractions, famous paintings and even company logos, and users only need focus their phone's camera on an object, and Google compares elements of that picture against its database of images.
When it finds a match, Google will tell you the name of what you're looking at, and provide a list of results linking through to the relevant web pages and news stories.
Google is able to pinpoint the location of the phone user through the GPS software and digital compass built in to many of the phones that run Google's Android operating system.
The company says it can recognise tens of millions of objects and places.
"Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words," the Telegraph quoted Shailesh Nalawadi, product manager for Google Goggles, as saying.
"For many search queries, using an image to search is easier and more useful than text alone, especially on a mobile phone. Computer vision technology is still in its infancy, but Goggles demonstrates its potential.
"We are hard at work extending our recognition capabilities. You can imagine a future where visual searching is as natural as pointing your finger," he stated.
Google Goggles, which is available as a free download from Android Marketplace, is the latest augmented reality application designed for mobile devices.
Augmented reality apps overlay real-world images, shot through the phone's camera, with digital data, and could be used to find the best local restaurants or nearest Tube station.
Google also announced that real-time news from Twitter would start appearing in its search results, following a deal struck with the microblogging service in October, just hours after Twitter signed a similar agreement with Bing, Microsoft's search engine.
"Now, immediately after conducting a search, you'll be able to see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and Friendfeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts that have been published seconds ago," Google said in a statement.
"All of these updates are ranked to show the freshest, most relevant results related to what you're looking for," it stated.
In addition, Google said it was extending the reach of its "personalised search" service, which learns from the past search habits of users to deliver more relevant results each time they log on.
Previously, personalised search was only applied to the search results of those who were signed in to their Google account and had enabled their search history, but it will now apply to users who are not logged in.
"This addition enables us to customise search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser," Google said in a blog post.
"It's completely separate from your Google account and web history (which are only available to signed-in users).
"You'll know when we customise results because a 'view customisations' link will appear on the top right of the search results page.
"Clicking the link will let you see how we've customised your results and also let you turn off this type of customisation," it added. (ANI)