Google Lens is a visual analysis app that provides additional interactivity to your phone’s camera and photo roll. For example, you can use it to instantly create a new contact in your address book by taking a photo of a business card, or access online reviews by snapping a product in a shop.
Originally only available for Pixel 2 (and later added to the original Pixel), the tool is now being rolled out to all Android phones with Google Assistant and Google Photos. Hurrah!
Inbuilt apps that utilise your phone’s camera are usually pretty gimmicky – stuff like moving web pages with your eyes or creating bespoke emojis. Google Lens is a cut above the rest and is genuinely useful.
For example, you can learn about a movie – including available session times – by taking a photo of the poster at the cinema. Simply access the image and tap the Google Lens icon for a list of available actions.
The concept is similar to QR codes, except Google Lens uses computer vision and machine learning to analyse any photo. The chief aim is to inform users about what’s in front of them in real time without having to rely on mobile search engines.
Here are some of the ways Google Lens can be used, as outlined on Google’s blog:
- Text: Save information from business cards, follow URLs, call phone numbers and navigate to addresses.
- Landmarks: Explore a new city like a pro with your Assistant to help you recognize landmarks and learn about their history.
- Art, books and movies: Learn more about a movie, from the trailer to reviews, right from the poster. Look up a book to see the rating and a short synopsis. Become a museum guru by quickly looking up an artist’s info and more. You can even add events, like the movie release date or gallery opening, to your calendar right from Google Lens.
- Barcodes: Quickly look up products by barcode, or scan QR codes, all with your Assistant.
If this sounds intriguing, we have some good news: the latest Google Photos update is bringing this innovative feature to all Android phone models.
Rolling out today, Android users can try Google Lens to do things like create a contact from a business card or get more info about a famous landmark. To start, make sure you have the latest version of the Google Photos app for Android: https://t.co/KCChxQG6Qm
Coming soon to iOS pic.twitter.com/FmX1ipvN62
— Google Photos (@googlephotos) March 5, 2018
The Google Photos update should be automatic, but you can check by heading to the Google Play Store app on your phone. Click here for instructions.
If you don’t see Google Lens anywhere, don’t despair – Google has indicated that it will be rolling out Lens integration in batches. Hopefully the wait for your phone model won’t be too much longer!
[Via The Verge]