Google Lens uses the firm’s AI to process images, and can do everything from reading a sign, translating a menu in a foreign language, and buy tickets for an event advertised on a billboard
Google Lens uses the built-in camera on a smartphone to scan and identify real-world objects.
It’s like a Google search, but for the objects in the world around you.
The Californian company’s AI can recognise species of dog, translate menus in a foreign language, and save phone numbers listed on a physical business card.
Google Lens also allows users to point their phone at a sign for a concert and automatically add that event to their online calendar, or even purchase tickets right then and there.
The software is able to recognise plants and even log into a new Wi-Fi network simply by pointing the phone at the password.
Google Lens also lets smartphone owners copy-and-paste text from the real-world into their handset, allowing them to quickly grab a recipe from a book, or a gift card code.
Another tool called Style Match lets users hold their camera up to store mannequin or clothing item and Google will surface options for similar items to buy online.
‘With Google Lens, your smartphone camera won’t just see what you see, but will also understand what you see to help you take action,’ Google clams.
So far, Google Lens has been included in the native camera app of a number of smartphones, including the Google Pixel and the Pixel 2, Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 5.
Smartphone manufacturers including LG, Motorola, Xiaomi, Nokia, TCL, and Asus have pledged to integrated Google Lens into their camera apps in future, although they have so far stayed tight-lipped about when the update will materialise.
Until then, Google has launched a standalone app in the Play Store, which enables anyone with an Android smartphone access to the features.
Google Lens is free to download and will run on any smartphone running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer.
The standalone app has exactly the same functionality as those phones which have Google Lens built directly into the operating system.