Google has now launched its long-awaited A.I.-driven Google Lens application on the Play Store as a standalone mobile tool, though there appear to be one or two caveats with this release. First, the app won't necessarily work on any given device just because it can be downloaded and installed. Instead, as of this writing and based on reviews the app has already garnered, this only appears to work with some Android 8.0 devices and those handsets on which Lens already was available via Google Assistant. Bearing that in mind, this is only an initial release so that could change over time. In fact, it likely signals the company's push to bring the app's functionality to other devices over time. What this release seems to accomplish is the creation of a degree of separation from Assistant and giving the app its own refined user interface.
For now, that means users will be able to accomplish tasks and tap actionable icons across four distinct categories. Gettings started is easy, requiring users to simply aim their smartphone camera and tap whatever they're interested in. For text, the result is that users can then copy and paste, perform translations, add calendar events, call a selected phone number, and much more with whatever words, numbers, or characters their device was aimed at. Actions for text also include comprehensive search and other Google apps, too. So if the text is a recipe or the name of a recipe, a user can quickly perform a search for it, with the A.I. automatically pulling up relevant results. Conversely, text can be saved to a Google Keep note to save time copying and pasting. On the other hand, a user can also rely on the app to look up a landmark, animal, or a plant. In that case, the company's A.I. will provide search results for shopping, videos, or just general information. In some cases, it may also ask for help in identifying the pictured item correctly. On the business side of things, meanwhile, that information will also include hours of operation and options for contacting the pictured company or for saving its contact information.
Finally, users can quickly zoom in on furniture, outfits, or other similar items to find complementary products. If the image includes an outfit, Google might find similar looks or complementary accessories, while a snapshot of a room might find matching decor to complete the look. That's already useful but Google has plenty of other features and improvements planned over the coming months. With any luck, that will also include expanding support to more Android smartphones.