Earlier this year at its annual I/O developer conference, Google announced the latest addition to their technological arsenal: Google Lens.
Making use of the camera functionality available in all smartphones, Google Lens has me really excited from an SEO perspective!
What is Google Lens?
In short, the tool essentially utilises your smartphone camera to scan, well, anything really! You can then use that to perform a search, based on what Lens is seeing, using Google Assistant.
What can Google Lens be used for?
Google Lens can be used for some really cool - and ultimately VERY useful - things!
For example, maybe you're walking around a new city and are getting peckish. Surrounded by restaurants, how do you know which are any good? Or what they offer? Sure, you can go up and read the menu in the window of each one, then search Google or TripAdvisor. We all do it this way I reckon; bit of a pain isn't it?
With Google Lens, this process couldn't be simpler. Just take out your phone, open the App, scan the restaurant across the road, and you'l instantly be given information about the restaurant on your screen! Contact details, the cuisine on offer, reviews, opening times, and so on. How cool is that?
Connecting to WiFi is made easier too. Just scan a WiFi barcode using Google Lens, and your phone will automatically try to connect to that network. SO much easier than our usual manual process!
So is Google Lens an AI or AR product?
It's both of those, kind of. There is of course an element of Artificial Intelligence at work here. The App scans something and then interprets what it's seeing, to return an accurate result. Google will then no doubt store that data and learn from it, in order to provide an ongoing increasingly better service.
As for Augmented Reality, this is at work too to an extent. The given definition of AR is "a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view"*. In the case of the restaurant scan example above, this certainly fits that description.
*Source: Oxford English Dictionary
When will Google Lens be available?
Soon! Google said "during 2017", and considering September will be here in a week, we can only have a maximum of around 18 weeks until the end of the year (only 122 days until Christmas folks!).
We'll keep you posted!