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Tech Innovations for Modern-Day Boomers: Search with Photos Using Google Lens

By Judi Jacobs January 20, 2019 Lifestyle

We all witnessed Google’s origins as a search engine back in 1998. It has since expanded into email, document, and photo storage, digital home assistants, smartphone producer, and more.

As it evolves, Google has continued to improve search, and with the launch of Google Lens, the notion of search by image is raised to a whole new level.

If you haven’t heard of Google Lens, let’s remedy that. This is a new feature that allows your mobile device to search using pictures, without having to type anything in the search bar. It can recognize images (and text) just by pointing your smartphone camera at an object.

Getting Started with Google Lens

If you are using an Android phone, you can open Google Lens using Google Photos or the Google Assistant on the front of your phone.

Tap the assistant; then tap the square Lens icon on the lower left to the microphone icon. The app will open your phone’s camera and dots will appear on the screen to analyze the visible image. Once you tap on the dot, it will bring up search results at the bottom of the screen.

To use Lens on an iPhone, you must start by downloading Google Photos and the Google app.

Open Google Photos; tap an existing photo to open it. Touch the Google Lens icon (square with a dot in it, to the left of the trash can) then tap an object or animal in the photo. Search results will appear.

Once you have used Google Lens, you should be able to cue the camera through the Google app. Open the Google app and you will find Google Lens icon in the Search bar next to the Google Voice Assistant.

If you tap on Google Lens, it will open the camera and allow you to search for something by tapping on the screen.

Google Lens also allows you to copy and paste text from an object. Put the lens over an object with text, and it will highlight the words on the item.

When you touch the highlighted words, you will have the option to copy text, call, or go to a website if it is a brand. You can also search or translate the text into another language.

Google will always ask you, “Did you find these results useful?” Take the time to click yes or no to help them continue to improve your search experience.

Using Google Lens in Everyday Life

  • See an outfit you love? Use Google Lens to find out where to buy it or other items like it.
  • Identify a dog breed or flower species by just pointing the lens to it.
  • If you have a gift card with a long number that is difficult to read, use Google Lens to copy and paste the number when buying something online. If you are using your computer to buy it, you can use your phone to copy the number and then paste it into an e-mail to yourself so you can easily copy it into your computer in the online checkout.
  • Use the lens on a business card, and it will let you save the person as a contact, with all their details.
  • Put the lens on the name or logo of a store or restaurant and bring up reviews, menus, social media accounts, and other business information.
  • Save a recipe to your Notes app by pointing the lens at a recipe in a cookbook and pasting it into a note.
  • When you are out and about, use the lens to identify landmarks and get information on them.
  • Scan a book cover to get quick access to reviews or information about the author.
  • Scan barcodes or QR codes in a store to research prices or availability.

So far, I have used Google Lens to identify a scary spider in my house, to find a bag I loved, and a cable I wanted for my Pixel phone!

Google will continue to expand this technology so it can identify more things and continue to be more useful in your everyday life. Now is the time to start playing with it and using it to stay ahead of the curve.

What do you know about Google Lens? Are you interested in trying out the app? What is the most useful way you think you can use it? Please share in the comments below!

Let's Have a Conversation!


The Author

Judi Jacobs is a lawyer-turned-tech nerd and the founder of The Tech Wizard. As a tech coach and consultant, Judi works with adults 50+ and small businesses to help make technology more user-friendly through small group classes and one-on-one training. Learn more at TheTechWizard.com.

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