Beginning today, Google is rolling out its AI-powered Lens features to Google Images on mobile in the US, according to a recent announcement from the company. Specifically, the feature is arriving for users who perform a search for images via the mobile web on Google’s home page. Once an image is selected, the Google Lens icon will appear just below, next to the share, favorites, and three-dot menu icons. Tapping on that will launch the feature with a short animation showing users how to select objects and white dots highlighting portions of the image for those with multiple subjects. Tapping on any of those will perform a secondary search in a slide-up Google Lens card for similar items or the exact item if the search giant’s AI can find it. only searches performed in English will trigger the function to appear, although Google states support for other countries and languages will arrive “soon.”
Background: Google lens was first introduced near the end of last year and effectively replaces the company’s Google Goggles image search application with a more comprehensive, AI-driven platform for quickly identifying or searching objects, text, and more. It can also translate text from an image or copy that text – or translation – to a handset’s clipboard for pasting into a text field elsewhere on the device. What’s more, users can draw on the feature to decorate a room or find accessories for an outfit since the algorithm allows users to discover similarly styled results. Lens finally got its own standalone app in June 2018 but existed prior to that in Google Photos after getting its start in Google Assistant.
The introduction of Lens functionality to Google image searches should make identifying or finding more examples of a specific item in a searched image a much smoother process. That should also improve over time and as the AI becomes better at identifying things but shopping is one activity Google highlights in showing how the feature will already be useful. For example, a user might be searching images of living rooms either while looking for inspiration to redecorate or just to see what the latest trends are. During that search, if they happen across a product that looks particularly appealing, they can then use Lens to identify the chair, table, or wall art and perform subsequent searches to find and buy it. That same example could be applied to other objects such as smartphones, clothes, and so on.
Impact: Google isn’t stopping with mobile searches either. The company has also indicated that at some unspecified point in the near future it will be rolling out Lens for Google images searches across each of the platforms on which a search can be conducted. That should mean users will see it appearing on desktop and Chrome OS variations of the Google Search platform in due course. With this latest announcement, Google is essentially taking the integration further and including it with its most central core service which in turn is likely to offer another reason for users to head to Google Search.