Google Lens, the visual search tool that the company announced this summer at Google I/O is starting to generally roll out to Pixel owners. The new tool is embedded in Google Assistant and allows you to tap the Lens icon and then by using your phone’s camera, view an object, tap it and identify it.
The good news is that the new feature is rolling out to Google Pixel and Pixel 2 owners globally in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, and Singapore but the device’s language must be set to English for the feature to enable and work. You will also be prompted when Lens comes to your device to give it permission to access your camera.
Google Lens feels very futuristic when you use it. The idea behind it is visual search. You see an object and leverage Lens’ Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to identify that object. You may recall that the feature made its debut last month in Google Photos which would allow you to identify objects in your photos. Lens functions the exact same way in Google Assistant – only on the world around you.
That said, like all Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence models, it needs to learn. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a beta tester on Lens in Assistant for several months and it still doesn’t sort things out 100% but it is certainly better than it was when I first started the beta program. But it will still not identify objects correctly or simply say it doesn’t know what it is you are trying to identify. The good news is that now that Google Lens is generally available to all Pixel owners, the data the ML and AI engines will get will grow exponentially which will make it better quicker.
My favorite Lens misidentification? It identified my Margarita as a “Health Shake”. 😀
If you have a Google Pixel (original or Pixel 2 variants) and have English set as your default language, you should see Google Lens come to your device over the course of the next few days. Once you do, get it configured and start playing. The more you use it, the better it will get.