Google Gets "Goggles" for Your Phone

The search giant gets quicker, more mobile

By Scott Budman
|  Tuesday, Dec 8, 2009  |  Updated 2:36 PM PDT
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Google VP Marissa Mayer explains why the phone is the future of search.

Google VP Marissa Mayer explains why the phone is the future of search.

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At the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., Hartmut Neven raised his phone up to a painting, clicked a button, and learned who painted it.

I didn't know the answer -- Kandinsky, as it turned out -- but I recognized the result as the future of search.

Google's latest offerings, brought to us by expert Googlers like Neven, come down to two things: speed and mobility.  By hooking up with Twitter (and isn't everybody these days), Google now offers real-time results, right down to the latest tweets from Twitter.

Type in "Obama," or "foreign policy," and you get a steady scrolling stream of news next to your regular results.

It is, according to Google VP Marissa Mayer, "a mix between regular search and social networking."

Click on the video to see our exclusive interview with Google's Marissa Mayer.

By folding in results from Twitter, Google is fending off a threat from the likes of Facebook, which promise to reveal information not based on the static crawls of websites Google's known for, but the real-time interests of your friends.

Then there are the Goggles which unmasked Kandinsky.  Google's Goggles come via an app, ready now for the Android platform and oming soon to Apple's iPhone app store.

Snap a photo of something, and it's quickly scanned and sent into Google's search database.  Within seconds, you're learning about the piece of art, restaurant, book, or whatever you've just photographed.  It's not just a new way to track down information, it's a giant company understanding that we're more likely to be carrying our phones at any given moment than our laptops.

Google is also admitting that, with smaller, nimble search-oriented companies out there, it has to change.  It wants to give you everything in one place.

"You don't have to say, I want the reference information here, and the web search information here, and real-time information here," said Mayer. "They're now together, all right next to your search results." 

In trying to be just about everything to everybody, Google has made it easier (and faster) to find information, wherever you are.

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