Google Goggles

A few years ago I was in the Microsoft home of the future. Among the cool things inside was a bookcase with digital picture frames built in. The shelf had a camera with object recognition, so if you placed a little model of the Eiffel Tower on the shelf, the picture frames would start showing pictures from your tip to Europe. Neat.

Now, if you have a Droid phone, you have a similar power in your pocket. Google Goggles will recognize an object, work of art, skyline, restaurant, book cover, business card... You take a picture of the thing and you get a Google search that provides information.

The educational possibilities of this are nearly unlimited. Now, on a field trip to the art museum you can take a picture of a work of art to find out everything abut it. You can take pictures of landmarks around town to learn more about them.

Once the product improves (and is more widely available) you'll likely be able to take a picture of a leaf and discover what kind of tree it grows on, or take a picture of a person and access their Facebook page. Once we can call up data about an object just by pointing our phone at it we will have to start rethinking what kind of skills and knowledge are important in the classroom. Neat.