Google Blogoscoped

Friday, January 4, 2008

Imagine Google Bots Reading Real World Texts

Quote (my emphasis):

In addition to street scenes, indexing can be applied to other image sets. In one implementation, a store (e.g., a grocery store or hardware store) is indexed. Images of items within the store are captured, for example, using a small motorized vehicle or robot. The aisles of the store are traversed and images of products are captured in a similar manner as discussed above. Additionally, as discussed above, location information is associated with each image. Text is extracted from the product images. In particular, extracted text can be filtered using a product name database in order to focus character recognition results on product names.

Sounds like science fiction? Not necessarily – it’s from a patent titled “Recognizing text in images” listing two Google employees, Luc Vincent and Adrian Ulges, as inventors*. The patent was published yesterday, January 3, and it was filed on June 29, 2006. Even without the “robots running amuck” element, to quote Bill Slawski at Search Engine Land, one might see this text recognition approach be applied to Google Maps Street View.

Also see the Google GoBot and the Google Robot FAQ from 2030 – and yes, those two (from December 2004 and January 2006, respectively) as well as the illustration to the side by MMOArt are science fiction.

*At least I can confirm they were Google employees at one point.

[Hat tip to and SEO by the Sea!]


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