Did you chance upon an item that piqued your interest? Whether it’s clothing, smartphones, or books, locating an online store where you can buy one for yourself is easy with Google Lens.
How Google Lens Works
Google Lens is the search giant’s image recognition technology that is powered by artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning. Google first introduced Lens in 2017, describing it as an app that understands what your smartphone camera sees and then helps you take action.
When you submit a photo, Google Lens compares it with countless other images on the Internet to look for similar and relevant objects and return them as search results. If Lens identifies products in your photo, the search results will be related to shopping—what the product is, how much it is, and from which stores you can buy it.
How to Use Google Lens to Find Items
If you want to use Google Lens on a mobile device, it is available as a standalone app for Android tablets and smartphones on the Play Store. For iOS devices, Lens is a feature within the Google app.
You have two main options to search for a product: using a photo in your photo gallery or taking a new picture with your camera. Grant the necessary permissions when asked. Once the app has finished processing your photo, move to the Shopping tab to see which online stores offer the product. Prices may also be included, along with prices in your local currency whenever available.
If you’re using a desktop or laptop computer, you can use Google Lens via the web browser Google Chrome. Just right-click on a photo and select Search Image with Google Lens on the context menu. If the photo you want to submit is stored on your local storage, open a new tab in Chrome and drag the photo to that new tab. Once displayed, you can now use Google Lens on that photo via Chrome’s context menu.
See also: How to blur out your house in Google Maps
Is Google Lens not identifying the product correctly? Try refining the search results by specifying the portion of the image that Google should process. You can do this by adjusting the rectangle drawing space by moving it or dragging its curved corners.
You can also get a more accurate result when your photo shows markings or labels that are printed or engraved on the product. If there are none, focus on distinctive features of the product instead. For books, for example, a surefire way of getting the desired search result is to use the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that’s usually found on the back cover of the book.
As it is, you may only find in the search results a few online stores that serve the Philippines. Of the various products I tested, I was able to get product listings and prices from Abenson, Lazada, Shopee, Watsons, and Zalora. Depending on the product, lesser-known or smaller Philippine-based online stores may also appear in the results.
Google Lens Is More Than Just Shopping
Even if the results don’t provide prices or stores that have the item in stock, with Google Lens and its object recognition you’d be able to identify the item, specifically its model and brand. Google Lens has also several other uses beyond enabling you to go on a shopping spree for the latest things.
For instance, you can aim your smartphone camera at a bunch of text written in a foreign language and have Lens translate it for you. Need to transcribe a printed document? Lens can help you. Curious about how good a restaurant or shop is? Take a photo of the storefront and let Google Lens pull up store details and user ratings. For students, Google Lens can help solve equations and other math homework.