I am close to tech, very close, and sometimes in my field we do things for the enjoyment of technology. Sometimes we do things to see if it can be done, how cool it is when it is done, and what we had to do in order to get it done. However, sometimes we also loose sight of the real world use cases of a particular technology. I recently had that happen to me and thought I would share the story of how Google Goggles brought peace into our house. (Ok, that might be a little dramatization but you get the point.)
My wife loves to scrapbook. She’s been doing it for years and she is pretty good at it. She enjoys it so much she will scrapbook other peoples pictures. I use to tell her she should think about doing web layout designs because it was very similar and we could us it as “together time”. Her reply was “maybe you should learn scrapbooking”… I didn’t approach that topic again, point was taken. When she scrapbooks for other people she gets pictures in all sorts of different states. Some are very organized with detailed information or what, when, and where a picture was taken, sometimes its just a box off random photos.
My wife has learned that when I am coding not to worry or concern herself with the signs of frustration I may display and sometimes the colorful language I may use when in such a state of mind. As I have learned the similar lesson when she scrapbooks so when she was showing some of those signs of frustration with her latest project it wasn’t unusual. She had received a bunch of photos of a families vacation that spanned a bunch of locations around the world. She was told the family had gone to China and then Italy but that this was over 5 years ago and no one was sure of exactly which landmarks they had photographed.
The wife had spent days trying to decode what were in the photos and where they were taken. In one of her moments of frustration she says “I need to be able to feed these pictures into a computer and have the computer tell me what they are. Can you please write something like that.” My reply went something like, “Sure honey I will get right on that …. Hey wait a minute, I think that already exist” I pulled out my HTC Evo running Android and asked her to give me a picture. I had seen that look she flashed me before, the look that borders on “you are full of BS” and “don’t waste my time”. I tell her, “No I am serious, give me a photo of something you can’t identify” She hands me a photo of some old ruins with pillars. Nothing really special about the photo and nothing really stood out to me. I fired up Google Goggles on my Evo and scanned the picture and almost instantly it returned the results “Pompei Basilica, Pompei, Italy”. We just looked at each other and said “COOL!”, but was it right? We clicked on the link that Goggles presented to us in the results and sure enough there was another, almost exact same photo, on a site talking about the ruins.
The wifes face lite up. “Let’s do another”. We did a couple more and thing were looking good until we ran into a little snag, “The Parthenon”. The problem was the Parthenon was in Greece, not Italy. “No one mentioned a visit to Greece” the wife said. We did some research and it really seem liked Goggles properly identified it. We scanned some more and would run into more landmarks from Greece, then Istanbul, Turkey. Two places never mentioned to the wife that were part of the trip. Needless to say this dramatically impacted the scrapbook layout she was working on but she was ecstatic about the new tool she found. She managed to scan her entire book in less that an hour, catch, and make several geographical corrections.
Wife walked away with a new appreciation of technology and I got to feel like a little bit of a Super Hero for a few hours. Just thought it was a cool series of events and thought I would share it.