Google Goggles' visual search headed for Chrome

A Google programmer is working on a Chrome browser interface to let people submit images as search terms.

It appears that the Google Goggles search-by-sight tool could soon work not just with mobile phones, but through Google's Chrome browser, too.

"I am working on a 20 percent project to facilitate the input of Web image searching," Google programmer Xiuduan Fang said in a post Tuesday to the Chrome Extensions mailing list titled "Chrome extension for Web Goggles. The 20 percent figure refers to a Google program that permits engineers to devote a fifth of their time to projects of their own choosing.

"We would like to have some browser extensions so that the user can drag a Web image and drop it in an input box on the toolbar...The search results of the image will be shown," Fang said, then asking for advice on how to write it up for Chrome. The original message isn't online, though a response with some pointers is.

Google Goggles currently is available as an application for phones running Google's Android operating system, but Google is working to release other versions, too. A Web browser interface would expand the service's availability beyond phones. Though there are plenty of situations where you might want to point your phone at a subject while out and about, there also are plenty of images on the Web that might provoke further inquiry.

The Goggles feature works by comparing an uploaded image to a database of billions Google has collected and analyzed. It can recognize landmarks and read the text of wine labels, among other things, but until Google works out privacy controls it doesn't make use of its ability to recognize faces. The effort is part of Google's unending effort to expand the scope and utility of its search service.

The new beta version of Google's Chrome browser adds support for extensions , though at present with some limits on user interface choices for programmers.

Vic Gundotra, Google's vice president of engineering, takes a photo of the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan. The Google Goggles feature successfully identified it.
Vic Gundotra, Google's vice president of engineering, takes a photo of the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan. The Google Goggles feature successfully identified it during the Dec. 7 demonstration that was the feature's debut. Stephen Shankland/CNET
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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