Google has launched a new version of the firm's Goggles application for Android and iPhone, adding instant barcode scanning, print advert recognition and bizarrely a feature which enables users to cheat at Sudoku.
The Goggles application uses the camera in Android smartphones to capture images which are then analyzed by a combination of client side software and Google cloud-based magic in order to return useful results based on the subject of the photo.
Google said that the barcode and QR code scanning functionality has been considerably speeded up over the previous version with the phone returning results within a second without pressing a button. "Simply tap on the result to read product reviews, check in-store availability and compare prices," wrote Google on the firm's official blog.
The real magic of Goggles, however, is in the recognition of images by matching them against a considerable database of images in the Google Images engine. The results can be disappointing but they can also be amazing, often pinpointing things like brands, famous paintings, even landmarks.
With the new version Google is also adding the ability to recognise adverts from major magazines and newspapers. Although as usual for Google launches, the functionality is limited to the US initially.
In what smacks of the result of one of Google's famous one day a week side-projects of an enterprising engineer, the new Goggles is also able to "recognize puzzles and provide answers." For a demonstration see the video below: