December 31, 2007 Nokia's vision for mobile phone camera applications of the future include one-step access to online information on your surroundings and the ability to translate written characters in any language simply by snapping a photograph.
Part of the company's "The Way we Live Next" vision, the "Shoot to Translate" application would see the camera in a handheld computer/phone used to produce real-time language translation.
The same process will also be employed to directly access relevant information on your surroundings. Known as "Point and Find", this service would allow photos of everyday objects to be recognized and then use a combination of this information and GPS data to link users directly to pre-defined content or services on the web. For example a movie poster could be photographed for access to an online trailer, ticket or screening details or to read reviews. Images taken of landmarks could be used to link to relevant historical and architectural details or tourist information.
Initially developed by a Silicon-Valley start-up technology company called PIXTO (acquired by Nokia early in 2007 and integrated into Nokia Research Center), the vision is for the "Point and Find" application to work without the need for barcodes, RFID (radio-frequency identification) or other physical identifiers.
With similarities to the recently discussed Snaptell service, the Nokia system promises speed and simplicity for the user and a more direct channel for content providers, the obvious drawback is the "one-size-fits-all" nature of the interaction being offered. As to whether such a process can satisfy the information hungry public - only time will tell.