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 Jorden Lacy
Google is in the middle of reinventing itself. A large part of that makeover deals with artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Google’s CEO revealed updates to Google Lens technology at Google I/O, the company’s annual conference for developers. The updates will bring visual search to the mainstream, forever changing the way we use our cameras.
Google Lens is simple. You snap a picture and Google identifies what’s in the picture.


Photo courtesy of Google

Let’s say you’re visiting New York City with friends on a beautiful October day. You’re walking through Central Park and come across a cool looking building you’ve never seen before. You snap a picture and instantly Google informs you that it’s the American Museum of Natural History, it’s open daily from 10am to 5:45pm, the director of the museum is Ellen Futter, and it’s one of the largest museums in the world. Want more detailed information on exhibits at the museum? Want to make a donation? Google pulled these links up for you too.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Next time you’re shopping the veggie section at Whole Foods and come across some exotic plant you’ve never seen before, snap a picture. Instead of wondering what it is, Google Lens will tell you it’s Perilla, also known as shiso, an herb from the mint family often used in Japan to add flavor to sushi, soups and tempura.

Photo courtesy of Dave's Garden

The practical implications for Google Lens are endless and very exciting. Expanding search engine capabilities from text-only has been talked about since the early days of artificial intelligence and it’s finally coming to fruition. Lens will make its debut in Google Photos and Google Assistant, eventually finding its way into all Google products over time.

Instead of adding filters to make your face look like a bunny rabbit, like Snapchat and Instagram’s augmented reality features, Google wants to use the technology’s capabilities to add more meaningful experiences to our lives. Questioning the nutritional value of kombucha or that blueberry muffin your coworker brought you this morning? Google has your back and can provide nutrition facts with a quick snap of your camera.

With so many tech companies focusing on camera technology (Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and now Google) it’s clear the camera is the chosen way to bring together the digital and material worlds. We can’t wait to see how this technology develops over the coming years.

What do you think of Google Lens? Will you be using this exciting new feature within Google apps? Let us know on social media!