Google Releases Lens App as a Standalone on Play Store

Google App fans woke up to a pleasant surprise on Monday; the tech giant announced the release of the Lens standalone app on the PC Play Store. What is Lens, you ask? It’s basically a tool that works to detect particular objects within a camera-captured image using high-tech machine learning. The best part about Lens is that it comes as a part of Google’s Virtual Assistant and search engine products.

What is Google Lens and How Does It Work?

This App is a more advanced rendition of apps like Bixby Vision from Samsung and Google Googles.  Thanks to the Lens App, you can identify and name an object-like a butterfly for example- just by pointing your phone at it and then asking Google Assistant what it is. The app will go so far as to fully describe the object and even give you recommendations of where to find it in your area.

Google Lens will also enable you to connect with a Wi-Fi router by simply snapping a photo of its SSID sticker, which means no more passwords or usernames.

In addition, Google Lens will help you to find pubs, bars, cafés, clubs, restaurants, and will actually provide you with useful information on these establishments, like opening times, contact details and address, as well as customer reviews. However, the most impressive aspect of this app is its ability to recognize and identify objects and then make suggestions based on those objects.

For example, let’s say you point your phone at a glass of wine. The app will respond by recommending a variety of alcoholic beverages for you, and each selection will be accompanied by a detailed summary that tells you what the origins of that beverage are, how it’s made etc. Plus, it delivers quick results and actually recommends things that are relevant to the object that you took a picture of.


What Can Google Lens Do?

In addition to the features mentioned above, Google Lens recently had the following updates included in it:

  • Smart Text Selection: This function allows you to copy a certain text by aiming the phone’s camera towards the text and then paste it into a relevant field. You can use this feature to copy and paste a Wi-Fi password, for example, so that you don’t have to memorize it.
  • Smart Text Search:Using the same copy and paste functionality mentioned above, you can search for certain words and phrases on Google Assistant.
  • Clothing and Decor Search:Google Lens makes shopping easier, as you can use it to snap pictures of clothing items that you like in order to find out more about where to find it if there are similar items to it that you’d be interested in and so on. And you can do the same thing with décor accessories, furniture and so much more.
  • Search Around You:Google Lens can also help to improve your awareness of your surroundings by identifying the objects in your environment, like a dog that’s sitting on the couch, a candle on a mantle and even the titles and reviews of the books in your bookshelf.

The Release as a Standalone App

CNET and Droid Life report that the Lens app appears as a quick-launch icon on Android devices to enable easy functionality on devices that don’t have it integrated already. All you need to do is boot up the app and you’ll immediately see its viewfinder, which means that it’s ready to start working and identify objects.

True to form, Google has continued to work on the Lens app even after its released, and recently added another feature onto it which is called “smart text selection”, through which users can perform a wide variety of functions, from copying texts from an external object, providing better-quality UI and tools to improve your shopping efficiency as well.

While the initial Lens app was built to function on a select few devices (including Sony and One Plus smartphones and Pixel devices), Google recently announced that it has improved the app’s compatibility to include devices from 10 additional manufacturers, and these devices will come with in-built Lens app compatibility.

However, the app’s version which was released on Monday doesn’t seem to be compatible with a lot of smartphones, despite the fact that it’s available to download everywhere. For example, while the app is not compatible with the Nokia 7 Plus, Moto Z Play, Xiaomi Mi A1 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, it works fine on the Samsung Note 8. Plus, when you view the app on Google Play Store for laptop, you’ll find that an Android Marshmallow or above OS is part of the main prerequisites for being able to use this app on your device.

Although Google has been touting the Lens app for months now, many experts believe that it still needs a bit of work before it can be said to have reached maximum functionality. Then there’s also the fact that some of the app’s features might compromise your privacy, as it will give Google unfettered access to your life through your camera.