Google does a lot of things better than I can. It always knows the best way between two points while I often get lost, it can do unit conversions on the fly while I’m stuck looking for the other side of the measuring cup, and of course it can find pretty much anything as long as you know how to ask. One of the last things I have going for me is the ability to see and process information on the fly. Luckily I can sit on the bus, look at a newspaper and figure out this Sudoku puzzle using just my eyes, my brain and a pen. Oh, Google does that better than I do now too? Great.
Google Goggles is an image recognition app that is used to search based on a picture taken on your phone. It is used to take a picture of a landmark, barcode, print ads or many other things and figure out what exactly it is that is staring you in the face. Ideally it would be useful if you have no idea what something is, but more often we have some idea and just type it in and search the old fashion way.
So what does that have to do with my Sudoku puzzle? Well, now with Google Goggles you can just take a picture of a Sudoku board with your phone and Google will actually solve it for you. Fast.
Since Sudoku is essentially a logic puzzle with very strict parameters, they are well suited to be solved by computer algorithms. Programs to solve Sudoku’s have been around for a while, so actually solving the puzzle isn’t terribly impressive; it’s the way that it happens that is fantastic. It takes about 30 seconds total for Goggles to take the picture, scan it in, figure out it is a Sudoku puzzle and solve for the answer. There is something just mind blowing about holding your phone’s camera up to a puzzle, taking a picture and watching the answer appear. And it is not just the easy newspaper Sudoku that it can handle; I decided to give it a real test with a couple of theHardest Sudoku’s according to Wikipedia, and Goggles sliced through them like butter.
I guess the next time I hit a snag in my morning Sudoku I can get help from Google in 30 seconds instead of glaring jealously at the guy across from me who just finished it. At least I still have crossword puzzles to do while Skynet puts the finishing touches on becoming self-aware…