There’s little doubt that the smartphone is going to be the one gadget that we’ll all be carrying in our pockets before too long — they’re just too useful.

There’s little doubt that the smartphone is going to be the one gadget that we’ll all be carrying in our pockets before too long — they’re just too useful.

A few weeks ago we wrote about how a program called Word Lens uses technology known as ‘augmented reality’ to provide on-the-fly foreign language translations of any writing that the smartphone camera is pointed. This week, there’s something similar for Sudoku players.

The Google Mobile app for iPhone and Android already uses augmented reality to identify real-world objects — point the camera at the Eiffel Tower, for example, and Google will identify the landmark accordingly.

Admittedly, this isn’t that useful for anyone who likes to identify objects by sight rather than search engine, but the latest update to the Google Mobile app can now solve Sudoku puzzles.

Simply fire up the app, perform a photo search by pointing the smartphone camera at the puzzle in hand and, as long as the iPhone has an internet connection, Google will solve the puzzle in a matter of seconds.

This kind of technology may look like its spoiling the fun (though it’s undeniably handy for impressing fellow commuters), but it’s yet another example of how the ‘cloud’ — the term used for powerful computers accessed at the other end of an internet connection — can make pocket computers with limited features considerably more capable.

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