Google Nose: Smell the World Right from Your Computer

April 1, 2013

11:03 am

Google’s done it again. Now, go beyond the glass touchscreen and experience scents from all around the world, right from your mobile or desktop device. The technology connecting scent with search has finally arrived at our homepages. Grandma’s freshly baked chocolate chip cookies can now be experienced with the click of a button. It’s called Google Nose BETA and it’s the new scentsation for a reason.

“You can search for text across the Internet with images, books, and videos, but we realized there was an important part of the search experience we had overlooked,” shares Jon Wooley, Google product manager. If bloodhounds and tiger sharks can solely rely on their sense of smell to detect objects, why haven’t we made strides in this direction technologically?

Similar to searching for images, the Google Aromabase factory enables users to search for a variety of smells. However, have no fear. With over 15M scentibytes, the SafeSearch function automatically filters the rather rancid scents from your device so your coworkers and cube friends won’t be asking who cut the cheese.

How does it all work? Google Nose BETA current leverages new and existing technologies to offer everything from atmospheric scents to decadent food scents. Engineers disclosed that by “intersecting photons with infrasound waves, Google Nose BETA temporary aligns molecules to emulate a particular scent.” Newer technologies such as SMELLCD™ and Street Sense ensures that their database is extensively packed with aromas stretching from coast to coast.

Such an innovative stride in search enables us to experience more of the world beyond static photo images. You’ve got the option to truly wake up and smell the coffee even when your Keurig machine is broken. Today, just take a second and smell the roses with Google Nose BETA. It’s the first of April, after all.

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Stephanie is Lead Designer and co-founder of Landmark, a navigation app for walking directions based on photos of buildings and landmarks. Stephanie was a guest at Y Combinator’s prestigious Female Founders Conference and was profiled in The Washington Post. Actively involved in the DC community, she is a co-producer of the DC Tech Meetup and is actively involved in encouraging technology education and mentorship for women. Follow her on Twitter @nguyenist.

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