By SHREYA CHOWDHARY
May 31, 2017
“Google Lens uses Google’s computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to transform your smartphone camera into a search engine and powerful tool.”
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible, and since its founding in 1998, from mail to self-driving cars to mobile phones and now, augmented reality, Google has explored this mission in all sorts of venues.
At this year’s Google I/O Conference, the company’s annual developers’ conference where it unveils new features developed over the past year, Google unveiled an exciting and innovative new feature: Google Lens.
Google Lens uses Google’s computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to transform your smartphone camera into a search engine and powerful tool.
Point your camera at an exotic flower (or bug or car or bird, or really, anything) and Lens can identify the object.
Take a picture of the sticker on your router with your WiFi network and password, and Lens can help log you onto that network quickly and easily.
Point your camera at a business storefront, and Lens can pull up information about the business’s hours, ratings, and other relevant details.
Lens doesn’t just function to provide more information about the world around you; it can help you interact with the world more meaningfully too. For instance, if you were to point your device’s camera at a marquee, Lens could display information about the movie’s ratings, upcoming shows, and ticket prices, and allow you to purchase tickets, all entirely within your camera. Scan a flyer, and Lens could create a new event in your Google Calendar.
Google Lens, in itself, isn’t revolutionary technology. Instagram and Snapchat use similar features to allow you to interact with the pictures that you take and the input your camera takes in.
Instagram and Snapchat use similar features to allow you to interact with the pictures that you take and the input your camera takes in.
However, Lens provides a more beneficial societal impact than Instagram or Snapchat; rather than, for example, putting emojis by a picture of cereal, Lens will allow you to view the nutritional facts of that cereal, thus helping you to interact with the world more meaningfully. That’s what makes this technology revolutionary; Lens has meaningful implications for improving the average person’s life, which is the entire point of augmented reality technology.
The development of Google Lens makes a future possible where you can use your phone to diagnose an illness based on its displayed symptoms or to access public records of people for safety purposes simply by pointing your camera at them.
Possible integration with other Google products like Google Glass, Google’s virtual-reality machine, creates, even more, possibilities for Google Lens.
Other Google Products
According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Google Lens will be first integrated with Google Photos and Google Assistant, so the general public may have to wait a while before they can take full advantage of this new technology and all its possibilities.
Regardless, it’s evident that Google Lens is the company’s way of taking its mission of providing universal access to the world’s information to a whole new level.