Call it a shortcut, call it cheating, call it what you will: Google Goggles can now solve Soduku puzzles, and I call it a pretty cool demonstration of how a smartphone can interact with real-world objects. Google rolled out a new version of Googles for Android and iPhone today. Goggles is an app which lets you scan real-world items with your phone’s camera and automatically look them up online or perform other actions — such as translating text from one language to another, using Google Translate.

The latest version ads a few new tricks. First, it can now recognize print ads in US magazine from August, 2010 and later. Scan an ad, and you should get information about the product on your phone.

Second, the app should be able to scan barcodes and QR codes more quickly.

But the show stopper in this release is that it can solve Soduku puzzles. Just scan an entire puzzle with your phone’s camera, and hit the Soduku Puzzle button as it pops up. On the following screen, there should be a button marked “solve.” You can probably guess what it does — but it’s pretty cool to see in person

You can check out Google’s demo video after the break, as well as my hands-on video. It really works.

If you’re looking for Google Goggles in the iOS App Store, you’ll need to download the Google Search app. Goggles is just one of many features. Goggles is available as a standalone download for Android phones.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...