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Google Goggles – that customer may not just be sending an SMS

To see more on this series of post check out: wine comparison shopping engines.

Usually people type a search phrase into the search or shopping engine. The technology may be fascinating (to me) but the input (keyboard) and output (computer screen) are very standard.

Until I came across Google Goggles

Say your customer is at your competitor’s wine store browsing the aisles. They see a wine they like so they use their mobile phone to take a picture of the label and send it to Google Goggles.

Google then compares the picture to all the pictures on it’s database through something called “visual search technology”. It determines that it is a wine label for Duckhorn Napa Merlot 2005 and sends a query to Google Product Search. The customer gets shopping comparison results from online websites sent to their phone while standing in the retail store aisle.

And this is where it gets really interesting

The mobile phone also tells Google Goggles that you are at a particular physical location using it’s GPS system. So Google also looks for local businesses selling the same wine. It may then tell your competitor’s customer that you are actually selling that same wine a little more cheaply, have more in stock, or perhaps that you have different vintages.

It could also be used this way

The customer may be walking down the street and wants to see what wines your stores offers.

So they take a point their camera at the store frontage and Google Goggles uses GPS and internal compass to provide information.

Google compares the location to it’s list of photos and locations at Google Maps (Google Places), works out that it is your wine store and provides the customer details on your shop, local reviews, phone number, opening hours, and any coupons. It would also look at Google Products (Local Merchant Center) and add in your wines with any reviews of those wines from all sorts of sources.

Did I say “could”? Try it is happening right now with the Google Android and is coming soon to the iPhone.

Here’s what Google says on youtube:

So next time you see someone using their phone at your store, they may not just be sending an SMS…

A help or hindrance, what do you think?

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