Now your phone's better at Sudoku than you

Posted by Kate Taylor

Well, if you thought Sudoku was pointless before, now it really is. It's now possible for even the most innumerate player to solve any puzzle in seconds - simply by asking Google Goggles.

The company's announced Goggles 1.3 client for Android, its visual recognition app that allows users to search for relevant web pages by photographing an object or location.

The new version features instant barcode scanning. "Open Goggles and hover over the barcode or QR code. Within a second the phone gently vibrates and presents results, without requiring a button press," say software engineers Leon Palm and Jiayong Zhang on the company blog.

"Simply tap on the result to read product reviews, check in-store availability and compare prices."

It can also recognize print ads from a photograph, returning search results about a product or brand. The company says it will work for major US newspapers and magazines from August this year.

But it's the app's ability at Sudoku that's probably the most notable feature of the new version.

"Now, Goggles on Android and iPhone can recognize puzzles and provide answers to help make you faster than a Sudoku champ," say Palm and Zhang. "So if you ever get stuck, take a clear picture of the entire puzzle with Goggles and we’ll tell you the correct solution."

Users simply photograph the puzzle, zap it to Google's servers, and wait a few seconds for the completed puzzle to appear.

There's a video of the app solving a Sudoku puzzle more quickly than reigning Tammy McCleod, here.