This isn’t an entirely new development, but I still think that it’s pretty awesome. KDDI Japan has just launched their ER Search application, which effectively reads the information in your camera phone pictures and uses that to find relevant stuff online.
For example, if you happened to be in a bookstore and you took a picture of Spot Goes to School, the ER (Evolution Robotics) Visual Search application could then hop online to look for a real time price comparison on that book from other stores in teh area. This also works for CDs, DVDs, games, and other content.
The software is able to read the picture straight on, of course, but it is also able to overcome issues like partial occlusion, different positioning, and even images from a distance. Beyond price comparison, ER Search can also look for artist’s back catalogs, lyrics, audio and video clips, and more. Best of all, ER Search is free.