Google turning phone camera into a search tool

Google’s newest tool means that when you are in a new location you can get recommendations on where to eat, drink, or shop just by taking a photo with your phone’s camera.

Google Lens, which uses image-recognition technology, was revealed this week by the internet firm’s CEO Sundar Pichai.

“Google Lens is a set of vision-based computing capabilities that can understand what you’re looking at and help you take action based on that information,” said Mr Pichai.

Users will be able to point their phone’s camera at a shop front or a heritage site and a Google Maps card will pop up on the screen, inviting them to learn more about the area they’re in.

When your phone camera is pointed at a shopfront, for example, Google Lens will pull up the name of the store, its rating and other business information. It is understood that the when the technology is used via Google Assistant, your phone’s camera will be able to use the tool to translate languages.

Other abilities include shopping suggestions. During a demonstration of the new technology, a phone camera was pointed at a concert venue. A pop-up then displayed on the screen showing upcoming gigs, where to buy tickets, and an option to add a date to your calendar.

Google Lens will also allow people to join a wifi network by focusing their phone camera on the router’s log-in information. The tool is being described as having the ability to turn your camera into a “super-intelligent” search engine.

No release date has been set but the company said the new tool will be available “in coming months”.


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