Google is holding a major demo event at the Computer History Museum today and unveiled a number of incredible new features. It was the kind of event that restores a person's faith in Google as a major innovator.
From voice search and translation, to location and visual search, here are the five most impressive technologies unveiled so far.
The demos are all being done by Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering for Google.
Near Instant Voice Translation
A new prototyped product allows not just search by voice, but near instant translation between English and Spanish in the cloud, via your mobile phone. Gundotrpha spoke a paragraph's worth of words into his phone and within seconds the phone recited a translated version back in Spanish. It was amazing. Google hopes to have support for all the world's major languages completed sometime in 2010.
Customized Suggest Based on Location
Google Suggest is a very smart, if under-appreciated, feature. The feature will soon make use of location information when searches are performed on mobile devices. Gundrotrpha demonstrated on one phone that believed it was in Boston and one that believed it was in San Francisco. Upon typing the letters "RE" the Boston phone suggested searches for Red Sox, the local baseball team. The San Francisco phone suggested a search for REI, the outdoor gear outfitter.
Google Product Search Combined With Inventory Feeds from Local Retailers
Local mobile product search will soon tell you where the nearest store with a product is and whether that product is in stock.
Near Me Now
Google.com on mobile, starting today on Android phones, will offer top-level search categories like restaurants or stores on the front page. Click that button and you'll see the closest-by search results ranked by user rating.
Visual search. Take a photo, click a button and Google will analyze imagery and text in the photo for your search query. Pretty exciting. 1 billion images are included in the index today but Google says it has made the decision not to include facial recognition until privacy concerns are figured out.
Stay tuned for the next update... on Google's new real-time search.