Companies file patents all the time that never find their way into final products, and sometimes they’re never even granted, so take this one with a pinch or two of salt. Google filed a patent back in January 2008 for an idea that could make its way into future Android phones. The patent is still awaiting approval by the US Patent Office.
The patent covers the idea of using your smartphone’s camera to take a photo of a nearby landmark. The image is then uploaded to Google’s servers where the image is compared against a database of existing terrain, then return your location to you. We’re not entirely sure what benefits this would have over traditional GPS, but sometimes skyscrapers and wonky antennas have been known to put a damper on accurate results.
If there’s anyone best prepared to potentially utilize the technology, it’s Google, with a vast expanse of map images and information at its fingertips. Google have also dabbled into image matching before. They currently provide a reverse image search service which returns surprisingly accurate results.
The technology could also potentially be used in the rumoured glasses that Google are currently working on. The glasses are said to adjust heads-up information depending on what the wearer is looking at, as well as offering up local results, and telling you if friends are nearby.