Real world translation arrives on Google’s Goggles

Google has updated its sophisticated text translation software for Android-based smartphones.

“The first Goggles translation prototype was unveiled earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and could only recognize German text,” Google spokesperson Alessandro Bissacco explained in an official blog post.

“Today Goggles can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and can translate to many more languages. We are hard at work extending our recognition capabilities to other Latin-based languages. Our goal is to eventually read non-Latin languages (such as Chinese, Hindi and Arabic) as well.”

Bissacco noted that Goggles v1.1 also featured improved barcode recognition, a larger corpus of artwork, recognition of additional products and logos, an improved UI, along with the ability to initiate visual searches using images in a smartphone’s photo gallery.

However, he emphasized that computer vision remained a “hard problem” and acknowledged there were still many images that Goggles was incapable of recognizing.

“The Google Goggles team is working on solving the technical challenges required to make computers see,” he added.

Google Goggles v1.1 is available on devices running Android 1.6 and higher. To download, scan the QR code below or go to the Android Market app and search for “Google Goggles.”