Internet Geographer

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Snap and Search: Using images to constuct links between the material and virtual

“Our goal is for Goggles to recognize every image. This is really the beginning” - Vic Gundotra, Google vice president in charge of mobile phones.

Yesterday the NYT reported that Google has recently unveiled a new app called Goggles. The software allows anyone to upload a photo from a mobile and then be returned detailed information about the subject of the photo.


Many similar ideas to connect the material and virtual realms already exist. However, most of those technological practices rely on more complicated infrastructures (e.g. QR codes, compasses, GPS etc.). Here, all that is needed is a camera-phone and an internet connection.

The release of Goggles therefore lends a lot of support to Tim O'Reilly’s argument that networked peer-produced information will increasingly be used as a way of “brute-forcing identity out of reality.”

The app can also be used to locate more than just famous landmarks. It can also be employed to take photos of commodities (and any other material objects) in order to link them to virtual information. A practice that could potentially lead to a fundamentally altered politics of consumption.