I was surfing the net today and discovered a completely new and cool application from Google called Google Goggles. Google Goggles is a visual search engine that, currently, works in conjunction with the Android phone platform. Essentially, the app. works with the phones camera to capture visual information that can then be read by Google’s various applications (i.e. Search, Maps, Earth). The application will return information to the user based on the picture or video that is provided.

An article by Barbara Krasnoff from Computerword.com (Dec. 8, 2009)
Google’s latest lab experiment lets you send it photos for identification

An article by MG Siegler from techcrunch.com (Dec. 7, 2009)
Search by Sight with Google Goggles

Google Goggles Visual Search Demo

I can’t help but be excited about the implications this has for teaching and student learning. Imagine what this type of technology could do for an English Language Learner, or for students with learning disabilities. Scavenger hunts on field trips just got a whole lot more exciting. Imagine what dynamic research projects could be designed.

With the advent of online learning, students are no longer limited (or constrained) to their desks, textbooks, notepads, and paper. Entire courses can be completed without ever touching pen to paper.


Imagine a student sitting on the bus, working on their Marketing course online. They see an ad in the bus that shows a happy couple running on the beach in front of a hotel. The student could hold up their phone, scan the image, and determine where the hotel in the photo is. The quality of the advertisement could then be analyzed as the visual search application brings back results on airfare, hotel accommodations, and local sights. The student could then email all of that information back to themselves and/or post directly to their online project. Ahhh, I get excited just thinking about it!

The benefits of this technology for engaging students has no limits. The interconnected nature of today’s teenager is not a secret and the research is abundant. Today’s students need something more. This application not only replaces the need for books, but it takes knowledge to places that static pages never could. If social networking contributes to the “genetic” make-up of Web 2.0, does visual search technology represent the cusp of 3.0?

Visual search technology is still in its infancy (still in beta testing), but imagine what the future holds. What do you think? How could this be used in education?

I can’t wait to try it out!
Check out more on Google Goggles at the Google webpage – CLICK HERE.

UPDATE (Dec. 11th, 2009)
Google Goggles Demonstration