According to the company's blog, the new feature will be able to read five different, Latin-based languages and translate to many more, all using a smartphone's camera.
The new version of Google Goggles will help translate text from English, French, Italian, German and Spanish into many more languages, and will be able to read many more, including non-Latin-based langauges such as Chinese, Hindi and Arabic, in the future.
Using Google Goggles for this feature is a simple process, as described on Google's blog:
- 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.
Google has announced several advancements involving translation over recent months, including automated captioning for YouTube videos, auto-translation for websites in Chrome and even software it is developing to provide real-time voice translation over mobile phones.
Each of these technologies involves technologies which will help in creating a cohesive augmented reality experience in the future, translating the world we hear and see around us into data, which can then be worked with in other ways. And even at the core, test translation is not perfect, so Google is dealing with an immense problem. As it writes in its blog, "computer vision is a hard problem. [...] The Google Goggles team is working on solving the technical challenges required to make computers see. We hope you are as excited as we are about the possibilities of visual search."
Google Goggles version 1.1 is currently only available for devices running Android 1.6 and higher and is available from the Android Marketplace.