We were expecting a huge announcement from Google during the ongoing I/O regarding Google Lens, and now it looks like we have it. The image recognition tool from the tech giant will finally be available directly on the camera app (and not just Google Photos) of supported devices from various OEMs. The secret to making Google Lens more prevalent is to make it available to as many devices as possible so this may be a step in the right direction. They’re also introducing three new features that will be rolling out over the next few weeks and it includes smart text selection, style match, and real-time image recognition.
While Google Lens did become available to more devices last year, it was integrated into Google Photos and not really the device’s camera (except for Google Pixel and some Samsung devices). Now they’re expanding it to other smartphones from LG, Motorola, Xiaomi, Sony Mobile, HMD/Nokia, Transsion, TCL, OnePlus, BQ, and Asus. Of course, the supported devices are probably the newer ones since this feature requires a bit of processing power which entry level and some mid-tier devices may not have.
As for the new features that will be rolling out, one of them is smart text selection which should be useful when you want a more visual representation of things. It will show you relevant information and photos for things like recipes, restaurant menus, etc. It recognizes letters and shapes as well as the context behind the words. Google Lens also now has style match, which is a bit similar to Pinterest’s visual search tool. It will not just tell you exactly what a thing is but also what other things are like it which you may be more interested in.
Lastly, Lens will soon work in real time as it will proactively give you information about the objects that your camera detects. You don’t need to tap on the object but you just have to point your camera at something and you’ll see some relevant information and links. All these features mentioned will be rolling out in the next few weeks so don’t go looking for them just yet.