Well, huzzah! Now you can. And from your mobile phone, no less.
Observing that a number of people were apparently using Goggles to snap photos of ads, Google Mobile's engineering team decided to put five super-powerful advertisers together and get them to try incorporating its capabilities into their marketing. The advertisers represented nearly all major industries: T-Mobile, Diageo, Buick, Disney and Delta Airlines.
This video is basically the result of that experiment:
For the time being, advertisers' ideas are simple enough: when a user photographs your ad via Goggles, sponsors can drive them directly to their brand/campaign site to continue the "experience" the person's allegedly having, face-to-face with billboard, or punt them stuff.
That's big already. (Bypass those narsty QR codes completely!)
But think bigger. Faced with a movie poster, a resto ad or a saucy pair of shoes, you can immediately drive users to useful data: the closest retail store. Showtimes. A reservation maker.
The question now is adoption, and for Google, that might not be an obstacle. An NPD Group survey found that between July and September, a whopping 44% of new smartphone users in the United States purchased an Android phone. So if the next generation of Google smartphones come stock with Goggles, running invisibly in the background and integrated in your photo features (Search/Use as Background Image/Send to Contact), this is going to explode.
Explode, we say! And all the better for the advertisers and the Foursquare/Yelp/Gowalla junkies, because this presents the perfect marriage of search, geolocation and the deliciously instant gratification of a user's curiosity.