Google Lens is an image recognition-technology developed by Google that uses a phone’s camera to identify objects in the real world. Dubbed “the future of search,” Lens is currently available for the majority of Android phones. In recent years Lens has gained quite a few features that are really clever. Here we look at some of the best Google Lens features and how to make use of them on your Android handset.
How Do I Access Google Lens on My Device?
Most newer Android phones have Lens baked in to the camera app. You will need to take a photo first, then open the image using the gallery app and look for the Lens icon (shown below), which might be located in the upper or lower side of the screen, depending on your phone model.
Now that you know how to access Google Lens on your device, let’s take a look at some of the tricks it can perform.
1. New Places Filter
The new Places filter has recently made an appearance in the Lens app and is located between the Shopping and Dining options. Using the Places filter, Lens will immediately bring up the name of a building of interest plus additional options like Search, Save Place, Share, Call and locate in Google Maps.
The filter is accessible via the app and Google Assistant but not the camera or Photo app.
2. Word Translation and Text Pronunciation
The ability to translate text using Google Lens was available for quite a while, but this year the service has gained the ability to pronounce text as well. This feature is meant to assist people who are learning new languages as well as children who are just learning to read.
To use this filter, all you have to do is 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.
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.
Find the “Listen” option in the menu that pops up below and tap on it to hear the text.
Users can also use Lens to get explanations for various words and phrases if they are listening in a foreign language. Simply use the blue cursor to select the word or phrase you want to understand and press translate.
3. Homework Helper
As more and more children are now studying from home, Google Lens can now help solve math problems.
Find a math problem you are having a hard time solving and point the phone at it using the Homework filter. Lens will quickly suggest the answer. If you want to understand the steps needed to solve the problem, just tap on the “Solve” option. Note, however, that the option may not be available for every equation.
Additionally, Lens pulls alternate solutions from the Web and similar problems to make sure students truly understand the reasoning that leads to the correct result.
4. Transform Handwritten Notes into Text
Another thing Google Lens can do is transform your handwritten notes into text (on your computer).
There are a few requirements for this to work: you’ll need to have the latest Chrome version on your computer and need to be logged in to Chrome with the same Google account you have on your phone.
Once you’ve made sure that’s the case, go find your handwritten notes.
Point your phone at the handwritten notes, wait for the text to be recognized and press “Select All,” then select “Copy to computer” from the menu that appears below. Choose the PC where you want to see your notes.
On your desktop, open Google Docs in the Chrome browser, press Insert or Ctrl + V, and your text should appear. For this to work perfectly, make sure your notes are written in a legible way. Also double check the results in order to weed out any mistakes, because the feature is not perfect (as you can see in the screenshot below).
5. Quickly Access Restaurant Reviews and Ratings
This is a nifty little trick you can use, especially if you find yourself in a new town and don’t know the local hotspots. Wondering if you should stop for lunch at a particular restaurant? Point your phone at the restaurant’s logo, and it will immediately show you a series of Google reviews that can help you decide whether you should stay or continue your search.
You also have access to a few extra options from here, including the possibility to quickly open the restaurant’s page in Google Maps. This way you can also check the restaurant’s “Menu highlights” and see if anything looks good to you.
6. Read Book Summaries
Students can use Lens to get a quick book summary (via Wikipedia) simply by pointing their phone at a book cover. Furthermore, Google will also show you if you can also read the book (via Google Books) or download it for free.
From the Summary card, users can easily access tabs such as Characters, Reviews, and More by Author, so they can get up to speed regarding the book quickly and efficiently.
7. Track Packages
Position the camera lens in front of a package’s shipping details and turn on Google Lens.
Wait until the details are highlighted, then click on the dot that appears onscreen.
You will be shown the URL for the USPS tracking page, which you can click to follow the shipping progress of your package.
8. Add Business Contacts
Hold the business card in front of the camera lens and turn on Google Lens.
Wait until the writing on the card is highlighted, then click on the onscreen dot.
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.
If the business is listed online and on Google Maps, you will also see the option to find the business on the map.
9. Find Details About Random Objects
Aim the camera screen at any object you wish to learn more about. It can be anything from a painting to a plant or an animal.
Google Lens will analyze the data, identify the object, and offer you a ton of resources online to learn more. You can receive the information in brief or go to Google to dive deeper into the topic by finding an authoritative website.
10. Add Events to Google Calendar
Point the camera lens at a ticket to an event you will be attending.
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.
As you can see, Google has done a great job adding plenty of features to Google Lens. If you are interested in playing games, you can also check out some of the best hidden Google games.