What is Google Lens, how does it work and which devices are equipped with it?

Google Lens was one of Google’s biggest announcements in 2017. But it was primarily a feature exclusive to Google Pixel smartphones. If you’ve been waiting for Google Lens on other phones, you’ll be happy to know that day has finally arrived. During Google I / O 2018, Google announced that Google Lens would be coming to other smartphones besides the boobs.

Google Lens is a technology powered by artificial intelligence that uses your smartphone’s camera and deep machine learning to not only detect an object, but also understand what it detects and suggest actions based on what it sees.

Here’s everything you need to know about the feature.

What is Google Lens?

Google Lens is a super powerful version of Google Googles, and it’s also pretty similar to Samsung’s; the Bixby Vision. It allows you to do things like point your phone at something, like a specific flower, and then ask the Google Assistant what the object you’re pointing at is. You won’t just get the answer. You’ll also get suggestions based on the object, like nearby florists, in the case of a flower.

Google Lens can also take a picture of an SSID sticker on the back of a Wi-Fi router, after which your phone will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network without you having to do anything.

Google Lens will also recognize restaurants, clubs, cafes and bars, presenting you with a pop-up window displaying reviews, addresses and opening hours.

It’s its ability to recognize everyday objects that is impressive. Google Lens will recognize a hand and suggest the thumbs up, fun, but show it a drink, and it will try to figure out what it is.

What can Google Lens do?

Aside from the scenarios described above, Google recently updated Google Lens with the following features:

  • Smart text selection: you can point your phone’s camera at text, then highlight that text in Google Lens and copy it for use on your phone. So, for example, imagine pointing your phone at a Wi-Fi password and copying and pasting it into a Wi-Fi connection screen.
  • Smart text search: when you select text in Google Lens, you can also search that text with Google Assistant. This is handy if you need to look up a word definition, for example.
  • Search for clothes and decor: if you see a dress you like while shopping, Google Lens can identify it and similar clothes will be suggested to you. The same goes for home decoration.
  • Look around you: if you point your camera around you, Google Lens will detect what kind of plants are nearby, what are the reviews of the DVD movies on your shelf, etc.

How does Google Lens work?

Google Lens in the Google Assistant

In Google Assistant, if you have the feature on your device. A Google Lens icon appears in the bottom right corner. You can press it and point the camera of your smartphone. For example, to display the hours outside a movie theater or on the information board of a concert venue.

You’ll then see a number of suggestions appear in the viewfinder; such as listening to some of the artist’s songs from the information board, getting tickets to the event via TicketMaster or adding the event to your calendar. Using Lens to get information without having to write it down is convenient. For example, you’ll be able to call numbers without having to memorize them or type them in manually.

Google Lens is now integrated with Google Assistant on a wide range of Android devices, not just Pixel phones.

Google Lens in Google Photos

In Google Photos, Google Lens can identify buildings or landmarks, for example, presenting users with directions and opening hours for them. It will also be able to present information about a famous work of art. Perhaps this will solve the debate of whether or not Mona Lisa is smiling.

We have seen this work with a book cover. There is actually something similar in the Amazon Shopping app that will scan a cover and suggest purchase options. Here, Google uses this kind of technique to provide you with more information about something you’ve photographed. We’ve also seen Bixby Vision do similar things, so it’s not really new; but it could be very handy.

Again, Google Lens is now available in Google Photos on a wide range of Android devices.

Google Lens with a camera application

In some Android phones, Google Lens will be added directly to the device’s camera app. This feature is now being rolled out, so we haven’t had a chance to test it yet, although we expect it to be similar to the implementations described above.

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