Tag Archives: Google Translate

Search for Images Using Text in Google Photos

By Tracey Dowdy

Speaking as someone with 5,629 photos on her phone, a new feature in Google Photos allows users to search for an image that contains text. As an added feature, you can even copy and paste the text when you find it. Think of how much easier it will be to search for the WiFi password you took a snap of or the screenshot of a recipe that’s lost in the myriad of pictures stored on your device.

Google Photo’s search tool was already intuitive, allowing users to search for an image using keywords related to the image such as “dog,” ‘beach,” “food,” and so on. But, they’ve kicked it up a notch by using AI that reads text within an image allowing for an even more effective search tool. Not only can it read standard fonts, but it’s also effective at reading non-standard fonts that appear skewed or distorted.

The feature uses Google Lens, the same tool used in Google Translate to translate street signs, menus, or any other text from one language to another. The feature is currently rolling out in Google Photos for both Android and Apple devices, though it’s still early days and not yet available everywhere. If you can’t access it yet, make sure your software is up to date and keep checking back.

To use the Google Photos search tool, follow these steps:

  • Open Google Photos
  • Tap on the search bar and type what you’re looking for – e.g., if you took a screenshot of the hours of a Korean BBQ restaurant you want to check out, type the name of the restaurant or “Korean BBQ”
  • Google Photos will pull up the image – tap on it
  • Tap the Google Lens button at the bottom of the screen, and all text within the photo will then be highlighted
  • Tap on any words you want to copy – select “Copy Text”
  • Paste the text wherever you need it – your browser, messages, Messenger, etc.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Use Google Translate with Your Smartphone Camera

 By Tracey Dowdy

 Last summer, when my daughter completed her study abroad program, I had the opportunity to travel with her throughout Spain and France. She had been studying Spanish and living with native Spanish speakers, so our adventures in Barcelona were language-barrier free. However, my French is very basic and très rouillé – very rusty.

I opened every conversation in Bordeaux and Paris with, “Excusez moi, je parle Français comme un enfant,” which translates as, “Excuse me, I speak French like a child.” This generally prompted a laugh, and we’d switch to English. However, my conversation opener wasn’t much help if I came across unfamiliar words in the train station or on a menu, two places you don’t necessarily want to go with a roll of the dice.

Thank God for Google Translate. I’ve long used it for translation in my work, but this trip showcased its diversity and ability to translate everything from handwritten notes to street signs.

A recent update to the Google Translate camera tool has added 60 additional languages for a total of 88 languages in its database. One of the best features of this update is the app’s ability to detect what language is being used. This is particularly helpful if you’re translating similar yet distinctly different languages like Spanish and Portuguese.

Here’s how to use Translate text using your phone’s camera:

  • Download the app on iTunes or the Google Play Store.
  • Tap your Camera icon, and once you’ve noted the features available, tap Continue.
  • You’ll need to give Google Translate permission to access your camera. If you have privacy concerns, you can always go in and manually change your settings when you’re not using the app.
  • Once you’ve given permission, your in-app camera will open.
  • Change the languages at the top to Detecting Language and the language you want to be your default/preferred language.
  • Point your camera at the text you want to translate.
  • If you want a still frame of the text, Tap Pause translation.
  • When you’re ready, select Continue Translation and move to the next set of text to be translated.

You can also pull up a picture from your phone’s camera roll to be translated.

  • Open the Google Translate app
  • Select the Camera icon.
  • Tap Import in the bottom right corner.
  • Select the photo.
  • Use your finger to highlight the text to be translated.
  • Alternatively, you can tap the Scan icon. This allows you to snap a picture translate with a swipe of your finger. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

9 Favorite Apps for Planning and Organizing Vacations

By Chantal Bechervaise

School is almost out and it’s time to start thinking about family vacations and activities. There are many apps out there to help you plan a trip and stay organized. Here are 9 of my favorites – they will help alleviate the stress of planning and preparing for your next trip.

Not Sure Where To Go?

1)      Minube (Android and iOS)

Not sure where you want to go this summer? Need some inspiration? Then this is the app for you. Minube can help you discover the best things to see and do, book flights and hotels, and make restaurant reservations. Minube does not end there – use it to sort and store vacation photos as well.

Price: Free

2)      Pinterest (Android and iOS)

Pinterest is one of my favorite apps – and not just for travel planning. It is easy to waste (er…spend) quality hours on it. Search for vacation ideas and let your imagination soar! The guided search feature can help provide suggestions as you type in search requests. You can also create your own Pinterest boards with different destinations, activities and places to eat. Think of Pinterest as an online scrapbook that you can take with you everywhere.

Price: Free

3)      Gogobot (Android and iOS)

This is another great app which lets you brainstorm places to visit but also lets you build a sample itinerary which you can share with family and friends.

Price: Free

Road Trip

4)      Along The Way (iOS)

Going on a road trip instead of flying somewhere? If you are an Apple user, you will want to download this app. Along The Way will help you find and discover venues, attractions, and gems along the way to your destination. Instead of just searching around you, search your route for anything, including food, sights, recreation, and more.

Price: $2.99

5)      Gas Buddy (Android, iOS and BlackBerry)

Find the cheapest gas anywhere in the US or Canada. You can also search for gas by location and estimate the cost of gas for a whole trip.

Price: Free

All Booked – Stay Organized

6)      TripIt (Android and iOS)

This app is the place to put all your travel information and keep it in one convenient location. No need to worry about all the different emails with flight information, hotel bookings, car reservations, etc. You send all the information as you receive it to TripIt and the app organizes it into an interactive itinerary which you can pull up on your phone. The TripIt app also includes simple explanations on how to use it.

Price: There is a free version which is adequate if you don’t travel too much and works well for family vacations. The paid Pro version works out to be $50 a year if you want access to seat upgrades and flight alerts.

Don’t Forget to Pack

7)      Packing Pro (iOS)

Packing Pro is a list building tool which you can organize by category. Select what you want for your list from a catalogue of over 800 items. If the item is not in the catalogue, you can add it yourself. This app is also great for planning day trips and weekend getaways. Never forget that charger cable again!

Price: $2.99

You Have Finally Arrived At Your Destination

8)      Google Translate (Android and iOS)

If you are traveling to a foreign country and don’t know the language, this app can help you. Google Translate supports 80 different languages and also works offline, although you have to download a large data pack beforehand.

Price: Free

9)      Foursquare

This app is great at helping you discover things to see and do near you – monuments, museums, parks, places to eat, etc. It does not provide reviews like Yelp does, but it is an easy app to navigate on the go. Other Foursquare members generally leave useful tips for you.

What are your favorite travel apps?

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

7 Apps for Planning a Spring Break Trip

By Tracey Dowdy

Planning a Spring Break trip can be equal parts excitement and dread. The promise of relaxation and getting away from it all can be overshadowed by the reality of expenses and scheduling. Whether you’re traveling alone or with family and friends, these apps can help you plan, stay within your budget and make the most of those days away.

TripIt

TripIt is a godsend for planners and laid back travelers alike. By pulling all your reservation information from confirmation emails, TripIt takes all those flight details, rental car agreements, hotel addresses and so on and creates one streamlined itinerary. Best of all, TripIt is fully functional offline which is ideal if you’re travelling abroad and roaming isn’t available. (Free – iOS, Android)


App in the Air

App in the Air acts as your flight concierge. TripIt integration means you won’t miss your flight, as any delays, gate changes or updates are sent to you in real time. The app makes it easy to manage your time by breaking each trip into 4 stages – check-in, boarding, takeoff, and landing – and creating a countdown so you know how much time you have to grab a snack before boarding. If you’re traveling with a group, you can track their flights as well. Once you’re back on the ground, links to local cabs are available to get you to your final destination hassle free. (Free but with in-app purchases – iOS, Android)


Mint

Mint makes sure your vacation regrets are limited to bad karaoke and questionable sushi by helping you stick to a budget. Few things can ruin a trip faster than realizing you’re spending way more than you intended. Set a spending limit before you leave and Mint will track your expenses in real time and let you know when you’re getting close or surpassing your limit. (Free – iOS, Android)


Google Translate

Google Translate may seem like an odd suggestion but the most recent update lets you have conversations in real time via Conversation Mode. Open the app, select the two languages you’d like to converse in, tap the microphone and speak. You can also translate street signs, menus and other text by using your phone’s camera. Simply hold the camera over written text and Word Lens immediately translates the text into English. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows)


XE Currency

XE Currency takes the guess work out of “How much is that in dollars?” You can convert over 180 currencies at up-to-the-minute exchange rates. The app works off line as well by storing the most recent rates. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry)


WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a smartphone messenger that uses 3G or Wi-Fi when it’s available to exchange messages across platforms and is a great alternative if you’re only traveling for a week or less and don’t want to change your phone plan. Just switch from SMS to WhatsApp to exchange messages, pictures, videos or audio clips with family and friends. (Free – iOS, Android, Windows)


Viator

Viator is ideal for making the most of your trip while sticking to a budget. Whether you like to explore or are just looking for an alternative to the beach on a rainy day, Viator helps you find and book the best deals on local attractions, museums, tours or even popular local hangouts.  (Free – iOS, Android)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.