Google Lens is the feature offered by Google that combines an ordinary smartphone camera with unique AI capabilities. The result is a phone camera that constantly analyses the scene in front of its lens to feed you information.
Many of the latest Android phone models have the Google Lens feature, in the shape of a camera icon, available on the camera app itself, at the bottom-left corner of the camera screen. Another easy way to access Google Lens is to open Google Assistant. Go to the explorer menu, and tap on the Google Lens icon next to the microphone to open a Google Lens screen. Lastly, Google Lens is also available as a standalone app in the Play store.
The following are six useful ways to collect information from your surroundings using Google Lens.
1. Word Translation
1. Position your camera in front of a book, newspaper or other surface that contains a word you wish to translate or find the meaning of.
2. Make sure the camera is properly focused so the word shows up clearly on the screen.
3. Turn on Google Lens, and hold the camera steady for a few seconds until you see the word being highlighted in white on the camera screen.
4. A dot will appear next to the word or text that is highlighted in white onscreen. Click on this dot to capture a picture of the highlighted text. You can now click on any word from the text to highlight it in blue, at which point you will see a list of options for interacting with the selected word.
5. At the bottom of the screen you will find the option to either copy the word, search for its meaning on Google or translate its meaning. You can choose either of the latter two options for a better understanding of the word.
2. Track Packages
1. Position the camera lens in front of a package’s shipping details and turn on Google Lens.
2. Wait until the details are highlighted, and then click on the dot that appears onscreen.
3. You will be shown the URL for the USPS tracking page which you can click to follow the shipping progress of your package.
3. Add Business Contacts
1. Hold the business card in front of the camera lens and turn on Google Lens.
2. Wait until the writing on the card is highlighted, and then click on the onscreen dot.
3. The details of the card will appear at the bottom of the screen, with the option to go to the business’s website or save the details in your phone’s contact list.
4. If the business is listed online and on Google Maps, you will also see the option to find the business on the map.
4. Find Details About Random Objects
1. Turn on Google Lens and aim the camera screen at any object around you that you wish to find out more about. It can be anything from a painting to a plant or an animal.
2. Google Lens will analyze the data and identify the object and offer you a ton of resources online to find out more information about it. You can receive the information in brief or go to Google to dive deeper into the topic by finding an authoritative website.
5. Add Events to Google Calendar
1. Turn on Google Lens, and aim the camera lens at a ticket to an event you will be attending.
2. The details of the ticket will be highlighted, and an option will appear under the screen to add the date and time of the event to your Google Calendar to get a reminder.
6. Detect URLs From PC
1. Turn on Google Lens and aim the camera at your computer screen and the address bar of your web browser.
2. Google Lens will copy the URL from your screen. Click on the dot that appears under the copied web address.
3. You will see two options to either go to the website on your phone or share the URL with your phone contacts.
Google Lens is far from perfect, but the technology behind it is being constantly updated for better user experience. In its current incarnation, you can use it in a host of ways to get more information about your surroundings and make the process of looking up a new business or website online much quicker and easier.
Image Credit: Hedwig Storch via Wikimedia Commons