Integrating translation into Google Goggles

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | 11:59 AM

(cross-posted with Google Translate Blog)

Yesterday, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Eric Schmidt and I demonstrated a prototype version of Google Goggles that showcases the potential of integrating Google's machine translation and image recognition technologies. In the video below, you'll see how we use Goggles to take a picture of a German menu and instantly translate the text into English:

You may wonder what's happening in the background. On the simplest level, this prototype connects the phone's camera to an optical character recognition (OCR) engine, recognizes the image as text and then translates that text into English with Google Translate.

Right now this technology only works for German-to-English translations and it's not yet ready for prime time. However, it shows a lot of promise for what the future might hold. Soon your phone will be able to translate signs, posters and other foreign text instantly into your language. Eventually, we're hoping to build a version of Google Goggles that can translate between all of the 52 languages currently supported by Google Translate — bringing even more information to you on the go.


verschiedenes said...

That's amazing! When can we expect the Nexus One to hit the German market?

Ed Schepis said...

It's great idea.
Can I suggest to use Augmented Reality to overlap the translated text to the original one?
It would be like looking a virtual English menu instead of the actual German one.

thoward37 said...

Seems to me that's the eventual goal of the whole Google Goggles concept. One day it might be a real set of goggles or similar device that provides a multivalent view of the world.

Put the services in place now, and then all you need to do is wire up a set of cameras on your sunglasses, and hit the town. ;)

I credit Tom Phelps.

Unknown said...

Is this available on the amazing Nexus we received at TED?
thank you Google for the Nexus experience.

Tito Gonzalez said...

This is why Goggles will be helpful. Wondering what it is that sign says, just snap googles at it, then you will know

Jim Paton said...

In addition to translations, how about currency exchange? Some currency symbols are unique but location services could be used to figure out which exchange rate to use when it's not obvious.