Glass quietly adds personalized photo search

Nov 7, 2013
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Google's XE11 update for Glass may have added calendar and custom location support, but that's not the only personalized search that the wearable now offers. Glass can now search through Google photos with a custom speech search command, so for instance it's now possible to ask "OK Glass, Google my pictures for cats" and see all of the shots you've uploaded that have felines in them. The system also supports tagged people.

That means, if you've been diligent about tagging photos with people's Google profile details, you can ask Glass to find all instances where your friends, family, or colleagues are in frame. However, Google's own algorithms can do some of the legwork for objects: in one of our test searches for "food" photos, for instance, we got a gallery of all the recent meal pictures we'd snapped with our phone and had auto-uploaded, even though they'd not been tagged.

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The custom photo search isn't new to Google as a whole, however. There's been support for custom searches on the desktop and in Google Now on smartphones since August, as part of Google's "My Answers" system.

That enhancement to search - which is an optional extra, and can be turned off - allows Google to not only index public documents but private content too, such as flight information, photos from particular trips, or reservations at hotels and restaurants. They're already being pulled in for Google Now to use for its auto-suggestions.

XE11 on Glass also enables "My Answers" style integration for the wearer's agenda, though again that has to be enabled as part of personalized search. It's also not compatible with Google Apps accounts, only regular "@gmail.com" accounts; users who currently pay Google for a business account won't be able to ask Glass "Am I free this afternoon?" and have their calendar queried for an answer.


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