How Google Lens works

Google Lens arrives as a standalone application also on the Italian Play Store, here's what it's for and how to install Google's new visual analytics service

Google Lens is finally available also on the Italian Play Store. The Mountain View service, previously active on Google Assistant, now has its own standalone application of about 20MB of memory. But here's what it's for and how to use the tools of Google Lens.

announced during Google I/O 2017 (Big G's annual conference dedicated to software news), Google Lens exploits the Mountain View company's artificial intelligence algorithms to provide search results starting from a photo or image given to it "in meal" via the smartphone app. Until recently integrated and accessible only within Google Assistant, now Google Lens "comes to life" and can be used independently. Just download the free app from the Google Play Store and use it whenever you want.

What is Google Lens

Google Lens is a visual analysis service supported by artificial intelligence. It is, in fact, a kind of visual personal assistant, which will be able to derive information from the environment that surrounds us simply by framing it with the camera of the smartphone. In short, the equivalent of Google Assistant (or Siri, just to be clear) working by images instead of voice commands.

One year later, during the Google I/O 2018, the U.S. computer giant presented several new features for its intelligent visual analysis service.

How it works and what to do with Google Lens

Have you seen a lamp or a piece of furniture that you like at a friend's house but he can't remember where he bought it? Don't worry, you'll just have to point at the desired object with your smartphone's camera to know within seconds where you could buy it. This is one of the functions of Google Lens. The Mountain View app can then recognize the objects that "point" with the camera using artificial intelligence to compare what "sees" the smartphone with the images in the Google servers. This applies to any object, for example if we frame a book the application will tell us title, author, reviews and even the site or store where to buy it at the best price. Google Lens is also useful if we're on vacation, we'll just frame a monument or an area of interest to receive information about it: a sort of tourist guide in your pocket.

One of the most useful functions of Google Lens, however, remains the Smart Text Selection. This is, in fact, an OCR scanner that recognizes the text framed by the phone's camera. The user can then decide to "digitize" the text and use it within a document or to translate it with Google Translator.