Google App's Visual Search Feature Revealed In Teardown

A teardown of the latest build of the Google app revealed the existence of a feature called Visual Search that's already somewhat functional, with XDA Developers being able to get the app to run some of its relevant code. As evidenced by the screenshots in the gallery beneath this writing, the app's Visual Search is somewhat reminiscent of the Google Lens service that the Alphabet-owned company introduced at the latest iteration of its Google I/O developer conference earlier this year and possible traces of that solution have already been uncovered in one of the previous beta builds of the Google Android app. However, the newly revealed functionality likely isn't Google Lens or is simply an extremely early build of the thereof as it lacks any kind of features powered by machine learning and general artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that the aforementioned solution is said to boast, in addition to having a different interface.

The experimental build of Google's Visual Search supports ten categories entailing general filters like clothing and products, as well as more specific ones such as shoes, sunglasses, dogs, flowers, and barcodes. Half of the main interface of the service amounts to a viewfinder situated above the category list and below a Google logo accompanied by a "beta" label. The feature itself still isn't completely functional, though its code and limited testing reveal some more details about the manner in which it operates; search results are presented in the form of a card list that users are able to swipe to the side in order to expand and shrink it, with all of the results being hyperlinks leading to Google Search. Apart from the regular Web Search, the service also shows some traces of the company's Image Search, providing users with the ability to navigate directly to the source of any image they are presented with.

As for the action of performing a search itself, users are expected to tap on any area of the viewfinder that they want to scan and can also quickly enable their phone's flash from the main interface. The experimental build of Google's Visual Search reportedly doesn't work with real-life objects and can only scan 2D images, while the Mountain View-based firm has yet to officially detail the functionality. More details on the availability of the Google app's upcoming feature will likely follow in the near future.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]