What Is Google Lens And What Can It Do?

"Ok Google" Got Eyes!

Ok Google sees what you see

Google I/O 2017 was filled with announcements from Google. One of the most significant announcements and the one that has stirred several conversations across the globe is Google Lens.

What is Google Lens?

Google Lens is a machine learning algorithm that utilises a phone’s camera to understand the context of things around the user. Google’s search is no longer limited to typing and voice. Google Lens is the company’s answer to visual search.

Visual contextual machine interactions | Image Courtesy: Google

If the name sounds familiar, your brain looks healthy. Google Lens was a name that first popped up with Google Glass, an experimental project, back in 2010. It comprised of a gimmicky pair of glasses with AR (Augmented Reality) capabilities. We are glad Google graduated to a sensible approach towards AR.

How will it work?

Google Lens will most probably get its own app. Apart from which, Google Lens will be built-in two of the most popular Google apps – Photos and Google Assistant.

Fire up Google Lens and point your camera to the object of your choice. Google Lens will identify objects and search the web for the identified results. Point your camera to a poster and Google Lens can identify the movie or play a trailer for you. It will not only search the web but also display booking information based on voice commands. If that sounds familiar, then that’s because Samsung introduced something similar on the Galaxy S8 with their Bixby assistant, a while earlier.

Welcome to the world of AR and machine interactions

Google Lens can translate content in real time and also understand bar/QR codes. In short, it can understand human and machine language. If the acquisitions are to be believed, Google Lens will be capable of many other tasks than the ones mentioned.

Ok Google – edit like a pro!

Apart from the visual context based search results, Google Lens will add context based editing functionality to Google Photos app. Google I/O gave us a glimpse of the editing feature we could expect later this year. The app easily cleared the fence obstructing the view of a baseball player in the picture.

Google Lens edits images easily

If you’ve used an image editing app, you might be aware of the several tools used to achieve a similar feat. With Google Lens, editing is made much simpler. The power of image editing with such ease and reach of Google will enable enhanced photo sharing in the future to come.

The future of Google Lens

When you think about it, the voice feature in Google Now is Google Assistant today. What can Google Lens then evolve to? In a year or two, we’ll be indulging in visual searches and our phones will be our medium to do so.

A peak in future – Google Maps and services in AR

Imagine pointing your camera to something and your phone understanding the view for you. This would be the true entry point of AR in our reality. A virtual world built over our world through a camera lens. Add the fact that sunglasses in future would be an extension of your phone with cameras of their own and AR displays. Ahem, Google Glass project!

Sci-fi movies have been our fantasies and now we have the technology to live them. Google is a key player in shaping our world with technology. Apple, Samsung and many others are also in this race of bringing us the world of AR through everyday gadgets.

Google Lens is the eye into AR and might as well be the dramatic breakthrough our Sci-fi capabilities could imagine.

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Loves technology and follows it passionately. A curious soul trapped in a weird dimension.


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