Google Goggles’ Business Card Recognition Works like a Dream

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Business cards: can’t stand them. Can. Not. Stand. Them. If you want me to be able to get ahold of you, just give me your fax number, okay? Teletype works, too. In a pinch, I’ll hit you on your beeper—if I leave “911” after my callback number, call back quickly! It’s an emergency.

Let’s get totally serious, though. If I’m given a business card, I want to get it digitized and discarded as soon as possible. And by “discarded” I mean recycled, of course, in my compost pile or wherever people recycle stuff.

Google’s “Goggles” app does many things, all of which revolve around using your phone to take a picture of something. Google then analyzes that picture using dark magic known as image recognition and returns relevant information to you. Take a photo of a famous piece of artwork, for instance, and you’ll get information about its artist, its value and so on.

One of the more useful features is Goggles’ ability to capture images of business cards and, with the latest version of the Android app, parse the relevant information from a particular card and add it under the appropriate headings of a new contact entry.

I tried it with five or six old business cards and it got every one right, which was impressive—contact name, address, home phone, work phone, mobile phone, e-mail, and the like. Just take a photo of the card, double check that the info is correct, and add it as an existing contact that’ll show up in on your phone and in Gmail.

The Google Goggles app is a free download for Android users.

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