Google Adds Print Translation to Goggles

At Mobile World Congress in February, Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave an amazing demo of a Google app that combined optical character recognition and translation. A German menu was scanned by an Android phone’s camera, and within seconds, an English translation of the meal in question appeared on the screen. We wrote about the demo here. Today, Google has added the feature to Google Goggles. It’s calling it Goggles translation.

To use the feature, point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words. Then press the shutter button. If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate. When you press the translate button, you can select the source and destination languages.

At the time of the MWC demo, the prototype version could only recognize German text. The version launched today can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and can translate to many more languages. In a blog post, Google says it is working hard to extend its recognition capabilities to other Latin-based languages, and that its  goal is to eventually read non-Latin languages, such as Chinese, Hindi and Arabic, too.

Google Goggles v1.1 is available on devices running Android 1.6 and higher.