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Google used its Inside Search Event June 14 to unveil its Search by Image feature for desktop computers. This feature lets users search for information on photos simply by uploading a still image, adding a link to it, or dragging and dropping the image in a search box and hitting "Enter." There are also Chrome and Firefox extensions to provide shortcuts for this search feature.
If this sounds a lot like Google Goggles for the iPhone or Android smartphones, it's because the search engine is using the same software from Goggles to power this new feature.
Users of Goggles have been able to take pictures of landmarks, locations and some two-dimensional products for the last two years. Well, Google decided to apply this technology to the desktop for times when users can't find words to bring important context to the picture they are seeing. This can be especially useful for pictures users have taken and stored online but forgot to add captions to them.
This is the latest example of Google building some backward portability, if you will. That is, instead of taking technologies created on the desktop and expanding them to the mobile domain, the company is taking software tools intended first for mobile users and making them available to the more sedentary desktop or laptop user.
The idea is that Google will make its Web services available on as many Web-connected devices as it can to bolster its search and advertising opportunities. Tests of the new tool showed it to be serviceable for pictures dragged and dropped and uploaded from our work laptop.