Google: we plan to open up our Goggles platform

"To solve augmented reality, you need to have an extremely accurate location. The current method of extraction from handsets are really insufficient and in my view it leads to a poor user experience where you're looking in this direction and the app thinks you're looking over there - we really we need to crack that nut before augmented reality apps becomes interesting.

"We think computer vision is the solution to that; we can use computer vision techniques to supplement that data that's coming from the handset."

That kind of recognition would get away from the need for everywhere you go to have been mapped and annotated for augmented reality in advance; instead of telling you what is supposed to be where it thinks you are, a future version of Goggles would tell you what you're actually looking at.

Sometimes that could be too much information. Goggles doesn't have face recognition because of privacy concerns. And there are already calls for an open augmented reality standard, based on openARML (Open Augmented Reality Markup Language) - a standard way to describe points of interest, based on Google's KML.

"The viewfinder [on your phone] is the new browser", says Mike Liebhold from the Institute for the Future; "it's a view of data through the viewfinder. If it's a browser it should follow browser rules; it should be able to render the data independent of the client."

Opening up Goggles

Nalawadi promises that third-party apps will be able to build on Goggles; "Goggles is not just an app - it's a platform. Yes, we do plan to open up the platform as an API but we are not sure what the platform should be.

"I'm interested in understanding from developers what are the features and capabilities of Goggles that would be good to expose."

And that's when what you could achieve looking at the world through Google Goggles could really change what you see: "What are the interesting apps you can come up with?" Nalawadi asks. "What user experience can you create when you have access to computer vision?"


Liked this? Then check out 10 ways Google Goggles will change the world

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Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.