January 11, 2011
Earlier today, Google updated their Google Mobile app for iOS and Android with a few interesting new features involving the official Google Voice app and the integrated Google Goggles functionality. Google Voice is now listed under the apps section of Google Mobile. It is a nice perk to be able to launch another official Google app from Google Mobile without needing to do anything else but I still don't see people utilizing Google Mobile that often. Google Mobile is nice and all but anything except for the search abilities just launches Safari or the associated dedicated app anyway. Speaking of search, the Google Goggles feature did get a couple of new capabilities. Take a photo of an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper distributed in the United States and printed in or after August 2010 to have Google Mobile return web search results about the brand or product, including things like the official web site, for you to view additional information even more quickly. The final new feature isn't quite the normal 'plug' for additional advertising revenue -- unless you count Sudoku Google result 'hits'. Take a photo of an unfinished Sudoku grid and you can have Google Mobile solve it for you. Since this is computerized assistance, of course, it can't be used in official Sudoku competitions. I tested it first using a grid where I wrote in the numbers, and the results were "hit and miss" with it missing recognition of some number. It didn't misread them, thankfully, but they just didn't get added into the calculations. I can't think of a huge use as solving the puzzle is the whole point in the first place; where you sitting back and taking a photo basically makes the whole point moot, but it's still interesting. Google Mobile is a universal app compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later. Google Goggles requires an iPhone.