Omniveillance: Where am I? Who is that? Take a pic on your Android and google goggles will tell you

December 7th, 2009

With Google Goggles, you can use your mobile phone to take pictures of landmarks, books, contact info, artworks, places, wines, and logos, and Google will tell you about it.

Now you can search by taking a photo. Use pictures to search the web. A picture is worth thousand words.No need to type your search anymore. Just take a picture. Find out what businesses are nearby.Just point your phone at a store. This is just the beginning – it’s not quite perfect yet.Works well for some things, but not for all. Your pictures, your control.Turn on ‘visual search history’ to view or share your pictures at any time. Turn it off to discard them once the search is done.

Google is also launching Google’s “Favorite Places.” Google will provide QR Codes to 100,000 business across the Country. If you take a pic of the QR code with your phone, you get access to coupons and reviews of the restaurant.

This is the genesis of Omniveillance. Last year I wrote in Omniveillance, Google, Privacy in Public, and the Right to Your Digital Identity: A Tort for Recording and Disseminating an Individual’s Image over the Internet (pp. 336-337)

In an interview conducted by the Financial Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt admitted the company’s future goal is to organize people’s daily lives.139 Specifically, Schmidt augured that one day “users [will] . . . be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ” and Google would be able to answer those questions.140 Udi Manber, Google’s Vice President of Engineering in charge of Google Search, reaffirmed this sentiment, and posited that Google has “to understand as much as we can user intent and give [users] the answer they need.”141 Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that the primary obstacle to this goal is not the technology, but the lack of information Google possesses about people.142 Talking to journalists in London, Mr. Schmidt stated, “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know
enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”143
[Google CEO] Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that Google is still in the early stages of gathering the information it has, and that algorithms can only be improved by better personalization.144 What Mr. Schmidt did not mention was how this personalization, that is, the collection of personal information, would take place. Google’s experiment in Nanaimo, British Columbia shows how it can organize the aggregation of this data from the real world. If Google really plans on telling a person what to do or which job to take, information must be gathered from sources beyond those on the Internet⎯namely the real world.145 And that’s where Google Street View can come in.

This is Google’s foray into the real world, and now they are gathering information about reality. While Google deletes the pictures people upload. they can still use this information to perfect their algorithms, and figure out more and more what people do in their real-world lives, as opposed to their virtual lives.

And here is a demo of google goggles in action.