The Google Lens has long been housed in the Google Photos app, and is now being updated with new functionality, major AI upgrades and a new home
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Google I/O 2018 has been full of exciting announcements, ranging from a peek at the new version of Android, to updates coming to the Google Assistant and Maps. Part of the conference was dedicated to talking about Google Lens, an image recognition AI that currently resides in the Google Photos app. It was quite handy if you wanted more information about things you were taking photos of, for example, a painting hanging in a museum or logging information from a business card. Google at I/O announced new updates to Lens, designed to make it even more useful.
For starters, the Lens will move from the Google Photos app to the camera interface itself. Google Lens is going to be built into the camera app of various Android Devices including the Google Pixel and the LG G7 ThinQ. Users would no longer need to open the Photos app, instead, just use the camera app to invoke Lens.
Besides getting a new home, the Lens also get a major boost in functionality. Besides being able to identify books and paintings etc. like it always has been able to, Lens will also now be able to suggest links to products you can buy online, based on what you show it in the real world. For example, if you point the Lens to a Jacket or a blazer, if the Lens is able to identify the style and brand name of the product, it will show you links where you can buy it for yourself. Additionally, Lens will also now be able to scan words from the real world and make them available in the context of being able to copy-paste. This will come in especially handy if you’ve got a bunch of phone numbers written down on a piece of paper.
We have been testing the Android P Public Beta on our Google Pixel 2 XL and have not seen the Lens icon in the camera interface yet. It is possible that the feature will roll out at a later date. In case you’re wondering, these are the brands whose phones will come with a camera app with Lens built-in: LG, Motorola, Xiaomi, Sony Mobile, HMD/Nokia, Transsion, TCL, OnePlus, BQ, Asus, and of course, Google’s own Pixel-branded smartphones.
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