If you’ve not come across Google Goggles before now, it is an astonishing visual search technology. It has been available for Android phones for some time, but has just become available on the iPhone. A similar feature called ‘Amazon Remembers’ in the Amazon iPhone app allows you to have a photo you take matched to a product to purchase at Amazon, a mixture of image recognition and human interaction can give high quality results, especially when searching for such things as book covers.
Google Goggles allows you to take a photo and have several portions of it matched against the millions of images available to Google Images, for instance in this example I have taken a picture of my fridge! On the fridge is a fridge magnet showing a scene of Lake Bled in the snow. Not only is Lake Bled correctly recognised from the small photo, but it is specifically recognised as a Winter Scene!
As more images are taken and uploaded by users all around the world, results from using visual search will improve dramatically. For instance, Panoramio is a service that is already indexed by Google and includes geographic information that can be displayed on Google Earth / Maps. When someone uses Google Goggles to take a picture of a building on campus, if there is a coresponding Panoramio image with a website link at the same location, the image will match.
So it seems that taking pictures and uploading them to Panoramio to be displayed in Google Earth could offer a lot of value to those using visual search technologies across the campus in the future.