One-click Sudoku solving in new Google Goggles

Google have released a new version of their Goggles mobile phone application for the Android and iPhone platforms. Normally I wouldn’t write about a new version of an Android application, but in this case, an exception definitely had to be made.

Where Goggles previously allowed you to scan a photo, which would be sent up to Google’s servers and have image recognition algorithms run on it, returning search results, you can now do some awesome things with it.

One of its new features is the instant identification of print advertisments. This will be big for advertisers who want to get users easily on to their mobile websites (and paying for things). It is also a lot faster, and can scan barcodes more quickly. But from a developer’s point of view, the coolest feature is the new sudoku solving capability.

An algorithm long based on backtracing, heuristic, and sheer brute force, it seems Google have managed to ship some kind of Sudoku-solving capability in the server backend behind Goggles. Now you simply scan in a Sudoku puzzle, it’s uploaded and analysed for processing, and then the correct answer is sent back to your phone. Google used it to beat the 2009 US Sudoku champion – easily. Now if that’s not a good use of all of Google’s supercomputing power and Computer Science minds, I don’t know what is. More on the Google blog.

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