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What’s new in Google Lens at Google I/O 2018

Look at all the things.


Google Lens was one of the bigger announcements last year, with the promise to make searching for something as easy as pointing your smartphone at it. Since last October, though, Google Lens has slipped into the shadowy background, (very) slowly improving but being largely ignored as Google Lens was largely a Pixel-exclusive feature.

We’ve been waiting and waiting for Google Lens to escape this beta period and come to more phones.

Wait no more, my friends. the day is here.

What was announced with Google Lens at I/O 2018?

Firstly, Google Lens is coming to a lot more phones, as Google is making Lens directly available in the camera app on “supported devices” from several manufacturers like Motorola, Xiaomi, and OnePlus.

In addition, Google Lens is getting more features as is continues to combine with Google Assistant, like real-world copy-paste, better recognition for clothes and home decor, and real-time search results.

What all is Google Lens actually going to be able to do now?


On top of Google Lens working on more devices, Google Lens is going to be able to do a number of impressive, time-saving, and potentially life-changing tasks:

  • Real-world copy-paste: Google Lens’s new Smart Text Selection will allow users to highlight real-world text within Google Lens, and then copy that text to use on your phone. Imagine pointing your phone at a Wi-Fi password and being able to copy-paste it directly into the Wi-Fi login window.
  • Smart Text search: When you highlight text in Google Lens, you can search that text with Google Assistant, giving you the definition of unfamiliar words or the composition of exotic dishes.
  • Clothing and decor recognition and search: If you see an outfit that you like while out in the world, Google Lens will be able to identify that piece, as well as similar articles of clothing or decor, and present reviews and shopping options.
  • Real-time search: If you pan your camera around your environment, Google Lens will identify what kind of plants are in a flowerbed, what kind of dogs keep barking at you, what the reviews of the books on your friend’s coffee table are.

When will I see it on my phone?

Google Lens will begin being added to camera apps on “supported devices” from LG, Motorola, Xiaomi, Sony , HMD/Nokia, Transsion, TCL, OnePlus, BQ and Asus in the coming weeks, though how long it takes to reach an individual device will of course depend on how quickly each manufacturer updates their devices and apps.

Google Pixel devices already have Google Lens, and can begin using these new Google Lens features as they start going live soon.

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