Google Photos Build 3.5 Debuts Hidden Google Lens Support

September 14, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

The latest update for Google Photos debuts new Google Lens support in the form of a hidden but working user interface which can accept images and scan them, in accordance with what Google announced during its developer conference earlier this year. The feature itself isn’t easily accessible as it’s introduced as part of a new intent filter which can accept and process image files. With Google’s engineers developing this functionality as being of the “exported” variety, other apps are able to trigger it, provided that they’re set up correctly. That’s essentially what XDA Developers managed to accomplish on Wednesday using a combination of Tasker and the Content Provider Helper app. One clever developer even managed to come up with a simple app that automates the process of setting up an intent for opening locally stored images with Google Lens, but the tool itself was only functional for several hours before someone at Google caught on to what was happening and disabled the server-side features the app was relying on.

Still, the discovery is significant for suggesting that the company is already planning to roll out Google Lens support to third-party devices, even if only as part of the Google Photos app. According to previous reports, the augmented reality (AR) tool will officially be commercialized early next month with the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 flagships. While it was always assumed that Google will be bringing the service to more devices, no concrete details on the matter have yet been provided by the firm. Given the current state of affairs, it seems that Google Lens will be rolled out in a manner that’s similar to the one that was adopted last year with the Google Assistant, i.e. it will debut on the company’s new first-party hardware and come to the vast majority of contemporary Android devices within the next six months.

As for the latest relevant discovery, refer to the gallery below to see how the service is meant to work inside Google Photos. You’ll presumably be able to summon Google Lens at any time within the app and have it analyze your images, which it’s already quite capable of, according to initial reports. The Pixel 2 handset series is reportedly slated for an October 5 launch and should be available for purchase by early November in the United States and Canada.