The Camera Search Engine

The first look at the Google Lens at Google’s I/O Developer Conference 2017 showed a glimpse into the future of integration between search engines and camera technology.

See also: Sony’s Interactive Projector

The announcement of Google Lens by CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrates a new way of searching the internet: through your camera. Lens is an app that turns your standard mobile into an incredibly smart and intelligent camera that reads, understands and interacts with the information in your photos.

Examples from the conference that show off the power of this new app:

  • Take a photo of a business’ storefront and Google Lens will pull up the name, rating, opening hours and other business listing information.
  • Take a photo of a router’s password sticker and you’ll automatically connect to that network.
  • Take a picture of a restaurant and Lens will pull up the opening hours, menu and let you know if there’s a table available tonight.
  • Take a picture of foreign text for an immediate translation.
  • Take a photo of a cinema billboard and it’ll bring up the Google Assistant to book tickets.
  • Take a screenshot of a phone number and it’ll get the dial pad ready for you to call.
  • Go back through images in Google Photos and Lens will work out what landmarks have appeared in your photos.

Google and many other companies are seeing the camera as the input method of the future; as a fully functioning search engine replacing the use of the regular text box. This will make searching the internet as easy, smooth and rapid as just walking and having a look around.

Lens will be available later this year as a feature using Google Assistant or Google Photos before it hits other Google software.

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