WHEN GOOGLE FIRST announced Google Lens last year, it was described as a kind of search in reverse. Rather than type a text query to find image results, you could point your phone’s camera at an object, like a dog or a plant, to find text-based information. Lens was not only a statement about your camera as an input device but also a most Google-y expression of technology: It combined search, computer vision, AI, and AR, and put it all in apps that weren’t limited to one ecosystem.
At this year’s developers conference, Google announced the most significant update yet to Google Lens—one that emphasizes shopping, text-reading, and additional language support. And to make Lens more convenient for people to use, Google has convinced a bunch of handset partners to offer Lens as an option right in the native camera app.