Google just launched its new Google Lens camera app at Google IO. There are two features in particular that have really captured my attention – and they’re going to change the way we use our phones and snap pictures.
First up is the ability to auto-recognise the Wi-Fi login details on your router (or more likely, a friend or family member’s router) and connect you to the network without you having to do anything more than point your phone’s camera at the sticker.
It may not sound like a life-changing feature, but it’s one that will likely save all of us a lot of time and hassle.
Of course, it may mean visitors to your home will start hunting round your house to find your router, and then man-handle it to snap the details off the back – but it’s better than having to recite a random string of letters and numbers every time someone shows up.
Edit features from photos
At Google IO, the audience shown a picture of a girl playing baseball from behind the safety of the chain-link fence. It’s a nice photo, but the fence does get in the way.
Google says Lens will be able to remove the fence, and seamlessly fill in the spaces it leaves. It sounds almost impossible, but apparently it works.
Identify photo subjects
If this feature works, it will be truly incredible. Google claim that you’ll be able to use your phone to identify subjects and be given information. Lens is essentially image search in reverse: you take a picture, Google figures out what’s in it.
This AI-powered computer vision has been around for some time, but Lens takes it much further. If you take a photo of a restaurant, Lens can do more than just say “it’s a restaurant,” which you know, or “it’s called Golden Corral,” which you also know. It can automatically find you the hours, or call up the menu, or see if there’s a table open tonight. If you take a picture of a flower, rather than getting unneeded confirmation of its flower-ness, you’ll learn that it’s an Elatior Begonia, and that it really needs indirect, bright light to survive. It’s a full-fledged search engine, starting with your camera instead of a text box.
We can’t wait!