Do you still remember Google Goggles that we have covered earlier? Google Goggles, that lets you search via a photo, is still a lab product and not available on iPhone yet.
While we are waiting for Google Goggles, oMoby lets you do similar kind of visual search on iPhone. This free app allows you to take a quick picture of an object and then get back a bunch of information about the object including: description, pricing and any information that may be able to find on the product. The technology itself does not require a barcode to be able to recognize the object. Moreover, it can still return results on objects where the picture might not be complete or a little blurry.
Advertised as “If you can see it, we can find it”, the app works for just about any other object. From my test, however, it seems that this app is best suited for books, DVDs and CDs.
When you first open the app, it presents you with the native iPhone camera. Simply snap a picture of an object (say, a book cover), it immediately starts to analyze the image through the IQ engine. Normally, the app should get back the search result within minute. Due to high demand of the service, however, it takes some time for the engine to bring you back the result. You’ll have to wait for a while and the app will notify you when the product has been identified (by email if you set-up that up in settings, or via push notification). Once it has identified the object, it then present you a screen that allows you to see information about the object from Google, Bing and Wikipedia. It also gives you a list of stores with that product for sale and you can compare the prices among different stores. The list includes eBay, Wal-Mart, Buy.com, Best Buy, Shopping.com, Overstock, The Find, NexTag, Google Products and Deals.
If you need to share the product with your friends, the app also allows you to email the search results via Twitter or Facebook. Some of the settings that are available with oMoby are turning your GPS location on or off and signing up for an oMoby account. They provide both written instructions and a link to a YouTube tutorial on using the oMoby app correctly.
The recognition rate is pretty good. However, the downside is it takes over 15 minutes to get back the search result. Hope it can be improved over time. So, in case you would like to try out visual search on iPhone, it’s worth to take a look. You won’t lose anything as the app is free. To further learn more about oMoby, you can further check out the video. As always, let us know what you think about the app by leaving comment below.
Founder, developer and chief blogger of simonblog.com