Google Lens—an image recognition technology that can identify objects, animals, and text through your smartphone camera—used to be a Pixel-only perk. Now the Lens app is available for download in Google Play, bringing its useful and innovative to a broader Android-using audience.
So, what exactly does it do? With the Lens app, Android users will be able to point their phone’s camera at an object like a flower. The app will be able to identify what kind of flower it is and offer possible related actions, such as where the nearest florist is.
You can use Lens to get information about a word or phrase, such as an unfamiliar item on a restaurant menu. You can also point it at a building or landmark to learn more about what it is, its history, and what other people have to say about it. It can identify books, buildings, clothing, animals, plants, and art.
The app also includes a shopping tool, so you can use the app’s viewfinder to focus on a product and find it or a similar alternative online (Gizmodo used it to identify a container of hot sauce, for example). If you point the app at a poster of a musician, it can pull up one of their music videos, or if you’re near a movie theater, it can pull up movie times.
Google announced it would be bringing Lens to more Android devices at its I/O developer conference last month. The feature will be built into the camera of a growing number of handsets, including models made by Sony, OnePlus, LG, and Motorola, but now it’s also available for Android users with older handsets thanks to the app.
You can download the Lens app for free from Google Play.
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