Google Lens is ready for its close-up – so to speak.
The "Future of Search" uses your phone's camera to identify objects, and then gives you information about those objects ̵
However you want to describe it, Google Lens can do some cool tricks. Let's take a look at the best of them, starting with how to actually use the feature.
Start with Google Lens
The lens works differently depending on the device. For both Android and iOS, it works in the Google Photos app: Select any photo and tap the Lens icon.
Since Google Photos can not actually create photos, you must first load the camera app, take the picture, and then switch to photos. (This is much easier in Android, as this app is just a blink of an eye after taking the picture.)
Luckily, [LensLensfoundthewaytoGoogleAssistant on many phones more AR-like experience , If you call the assistant on compatible models, a lens icon appears in the lower right corner. Tap to bring Lens to life for real-time searches.
This is definitely the coolest and most efficient way to use the tool. But even if you need to go the Take-a-Picture / Launch Google Photos route, you can do some nice things. Start with …
Scan business cards in your address book
Remember business cards? It turns out that they are still one thing. And if you're on the receiving end regularly, you'll appreciate the ability of Lens to scan a card and convert the data into a new address book entry.
At the moment this only works in Android. The iOS version can identify the text on a card – e-mail address, phone number – but can not contact it. (This is an iOS limitation.)
On Android, you can optimize contact information before saving it, just in case Lens missed or misread. (On a sample card I tried, the name Ray was recognized as "Ra.")
Judge a book by its cover
I enjoy every opportunity to stroll through a bookstore because surfing leads to a discovery that books can not buy online.
Of course, I'm spoiled because I want instant information about every book I pick up. Google Lens offers it: a summary, reviews (if available), and a quick link to a full Google search. Taking a photo of a book jacket is definitely faster than putting the book title in a search box.
Take a Self-Guided Architecture Tour
Want to learn more about a building? Or a landmark? During a recent visit to Chicago, I was curious about many architectural wonders of this city. With Google Lens you can easily take a picture and presto! You have details. And it's a Two Birds One Stone thing because you're building a photo archive of your visit while learning what you're about to attend.
Oh, and if you happen to be in a museum, Lens can also provide information about paintings. Not all, but certainly the more famous.
What kind of tree is that? What kind of flower? The botanically curious do not have to wonder anymore: Google Lens can identify many, if not most, plants. It also works on the fauna, so the next time you take your kids to the zoo and they want to know more about, say, the lizards in the reptile house, put Lens to work.
Add events to your calendar
You drive through the city when you find a flyer for an upcoming concert, a farmers market, a 5km run or something similar. You take a picture so that you have taken all the details. And then you forget it right away.
With Google Lens, you can automatically add this event to your calendar. After you have scanned a flyer, you should see a variety of options to respond to the different data: Chrome (for a URL), Maps (for the address), and of course, Calendar, if there is a date and time.
Read reviews of restaurants
Not sure if this dive bar is hip and trendy or just a dive? Point Lens at it – just as you can get information about buildings, you can jump directly to reviews of restaurants and other retail outlets.
Conclusion: If there is a physical object in the world, Google Lens may be able to help you find information about it – and may even respond to that information.
Copying Text from the Real World
Fresh from Google I / O 2018 (where we saw), Lens added an AR rotation to the old document scan feature: Instead of taking a photo of, for example, a magazine page and then performing optical character recognition. Lens can now capture text in real time.
In other words, set up your camera for text and you can immediately copy that text to the clipboard of your phone. You can also perform a search or, if it is in a foreign language, translate it.
Did you find any other cool ways to use Lens? Tell us about them in the comments!
Originally released on March 26, 2018.
Update, May 24: New feature was announced on Google I / O.
: All important from Google I / O.