It looks like the Pixel 3 smartphone might finally deliver on Google Lens' promise. According to serial phone leaker Ishan Agarwal, Google's next flagship will boast a huge upgrade to its image recognition tool - including real-time results baked straight into the camera app! Here's what you need to know.
When Google Lens launched in 2017 it was supposed to forever transform how people gather information and interact with the world around them. The app attempts to identify objects it 'sees' through a phone's camera and provide relevant information and search results to the user. For example, it can give you an email address when you point the camera at a business card, or list movie times based on a poster at the cinema.
Unfortunately, the app hasn't quite lived up to its own hype, with lighting, phone quality and subject type all playing havoc with results. In a recent experiment involving kangaroos, Google Lens thought we were looking at peacocks or giraffes. Admittedly, the animals were being viewed from a distance, but it still illustrates the current limitations of this technology.
Another problem we have with Google Lens is that you need to manually switch over from your camera or ask Google Assistant to launch it. This is obviously not very intuitive. Apparently, Google is looking to remedy this with Pixel 3, which will have Google Lens built directly into the camera app.
In an alleged Google video advert leaked by Agarwal on Twitter, the Pixel 3's camera app is shown to recognises an email address from a business card in real time. It all happens seamlessly inside the camera, with no need to fire up a secondary app.
If true, this will go a long way to making Google Lens an everyday feature instead of a gimmick that gets used occasionally - especially if the upgrade manages to improve reliability as well. The Pixel 3 is expected to launch next month. This is definitely one feature to keep your eye on.
Google I/O is around the corner, and while the company has already teased us with some revamped services, we're expecting to see a lot more. Personally, I'm hoping to see improvements to Google Lens, the image recognition tool the company has put into a few of its apps. Because right now, my friend, it ain't great.