Google has reigned as the dominate search engine for some time. And, when the iPhone and other smartphones came onto the scene, Google didn’t disappoint. Convenient, new on-the-go search options didn’t require typing and produced impressive results, including voice search and image search.
It appears that positive user experiences on smart phones as well as the rapid growth of tablets, notebooks and other mobile platforms is influencing the features Google brings to its web browser-based search engine for computer desktops.
For example, more and more laptops and mobile devices incorporate cameras. You don’t have to hook up any wires-you simply point, shoot and save. Now, images.google.com lets you use those saved photos to search the Internet.
Looking at a beautiful painting and want to know more? Take a picture and see what Google can find about it. Need a replacement printer cartridge? Take a picture of the old one and let Google do the shopping for you. Want to learn more about the architecture of buildings you saw during a recent vacation to Italy? Upload an image and Google can tell you more.
Use any web browser to conduct quick and easy searches using an image. Start by going to images.google.com or by going to google.com and clicking on “images” in the upper left corner. Now you’ll see a camera icon inside the search input box. Click on it and you’ll get two options: paste an image url or upload an image.
Pasting an image url can get a little tricky because you must be using an image that is publicly available. In most browsers you can right click on the image and select “Copy Image URL” or “Copy Image Location.” Next, go to images.google.com where you can paste the image URL to begin your search.
If you can’t copy the image URL or if Google says the image isn’t publicly available, try saving the image to your computer then using the “upload an image” option to conduct a search.
Use a Chrome extension or a Firefox add on to streamline your ability to search by images. After the extension is installed, you simply right click on an image, like you would have to copy the image URL or save the image, but now you will have an option that lets you immediately launch a Google search using the image-no saving or copying required.
Voice Search by Google
Another new desktop search option from Google requires you to download and use the newest version of Google’s Chrome web browser. Using your new or updated Chrome browser, go to Google.com and you now will see a microphone in the search input field. Click on it to activate your computer’s built in or attached microphone. Speak the word or phrase you want Google use as the basis for your search, and watch the result pop up on your screen.
Google voice search is so sophisticated, it is likely to recognize words you know how to say, but don’t know how to spell, like Tucson (too-sawn), Arizona. It could be a great tool for kids, and it definitely improves accessibility for many disabled people.
There is a lot of room for error with this method, but you can always edit what Google heard you say to refine your search results. Some may still prefer to type it the first time—especially once you’ve learned that Google still has ways of helping you with your spelling.