Today, Google's Play Store released a standalone app version of Lens, its machine learning-powered tool for identifying objects captured by a device's camera that comes integrated into the company's search engine and virtual Assistant.
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Remember when Google showed off a cool trick that would automatically remove things like fences or window panes from the foreground of your photos? Originally demoed at Google I/O 2017, the object-removal feature was supposed to be incorporated into Google Photos. But after waiting a year for the feature to go live, Google's annual dev conference swung 'round again and object removal was still a no show. So what happened?
Lens is Google's experimental, camera-powered search engine, but up until today, the service was buried inside Google's Assistant and the Google Photos app. Lens still isn't getting its own standalone app, but now Google is merging the feature into the default camera apps on a handful of Android devices, including the Pixel. With new prominence, Google is updating Lens with a handful of features that should land on your phone sometime "over the next few weeks".
Google I/O is around the corner, and while the company has already teased us with some revamped services, we're expecting to see a lot more. Personally, I'm hoping to see improvements to Google Lens, the image recognition tool the company has put into a few of its apps. Because right now, my friend, it ain't great.
Few apps are getting as much hype from Google right now as Google Lens, which taps into the machine learning AI that Google is currently so fond of. That AI lets the app recognise all kinds of stuff through your phone's camera, and take action on it. It's available now through Google Photos for Android and iOS, so is it the future of phone apps? And what exactly can it do for you?
Released last year, Google Assistant hasn't really proven itself useful outside of checking the weather, searching Google, or setting an alarm using voice commands. So far it's been limited to basic features that are more than matched by other smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. But Google is trying to change that.