Google Lens will tell you about the things around you

I bought this plant to put in my back yard garden, but I don’t know if it needs sun or shade. If I knew the name of the plant, I would just google how to care for it, but I have no idea what it is called. This is where Google Lens comes in. You just focus on things in the real world and it will “google it for you.” Imagine being able to “Google it” for anything in the real world as well as online. Are you wondering where your friend bought that cool kitchen appliance? Just get out your phone with Google Lens, point it at the appliance and you’ll find out. You’ll even get a link for where to buy it. What is this menu item that’s written in Italian? Google Lens can tell you.

Using the Google Lens app, just focus on the object you want to research and tap the search button.

Google Lens will present you with its search results. If you see the correct object, tap it for further information.

How to access Google Lens

First of all, you need a mobile device, either Android or iOS. On iOS (iPhone/iPad) Google Lens is part of the Google app. You need to install the Google app, then you’ll see the lens button to the right of the search box. On Android, you need to install the separate Google Lens app, its icon looks similar to a camera but not exactly as in the iOS version.

Once you have it, just tap to open lens and focus on the thing you want to investigate. To search for the identification of that thing, just tap the Search/shutter button. Notice, however that there are other options: Translate and Text are amazing. Translate can interpret 100 different languages, Text can copy text from what it sees, even handwritten text!

Birds, Flowers, QR codes and more – take a photo

What if you don’t have the patience to point your phone at something and tap the right buttons? You can take a photo and let Lens investigate the photo at any time. For this, you need the Google Photos app. Just open any photo in Google Photos on iPhone or Android (not yet available on web) and then tap the Lens button. We demonstrate several examples in Episode 211 of “What Does This Button Do?”

Click here to watch the Google Photos and Lens portion of Episode 211. We demonstrate many capabilities, including:

  • A photo of a popular landmark – use Google Lens to learn the name of the landmark
  • Photos of birds – identify the type of bird
  • Photos of shells
  • Underwater photo to identify the type of turtle
  • Photos of trees – identify them
  • Pictures of QR codes will scan the QR code
  • A photo of printed text – you can copy that text and paste it elsewhere. It will be fully editable.

Try it by taking a photo of a business card. Open the photo in Google Photos and tap the lens button and you can save the information as a new contact, or just ask it to make a phone call or send an email, you’ll be amazed.


2 replies on “Google Lens will tell you about the things around you”

  1. The lens wasn’t visible so I deleted and do I get the lens icon next to microphone? Ps I am using and IPad

    • Ooops, you’re right Jane. The lens button is not available on the iPad – I don’t know why. You need to use the Google Photos method.

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