Google made a big deal out of Google Lens at its I/O 2017 opening keynote, and if it works as is claimed then it’s something with which we can all get onboard. 

It has since announced that Google Lens will be built into the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which go onsale on 19 October and 15 November respectively.

Google Lens is a smart camera app that can read and actually understand the information within your images. We’re not talking about the image metadata, but the places, names and even Wi-Fi passwords depicted in your photos. It can then offer up intelligent ways to deal with that information. Also see: How to reverse image search

What is Google Lens is perhaps best answered with some examples: take a photo of a router’s password sticker and you’ll automatically connect to that network; snap a picture of an unknown plant and automatically identify it in Google search results; photograph foreign text for a translation; take a photo of a theatre billboard and bring up the Google Assistant to book tickets; or take a screenshot of a phone number and quickly bring it up in the dialer to call it.

Integration with Google Photos means even more information is available after the event, for example it can match your image to online data to work out what is that landmark you photographed earlier.

There are also some clever context-aware editing tools: during the demo, Google showed how its new app could digitally remove the links of a chain fence to reveal a baseball player standing behind.

When is the Google Lens release date?

Google Lens will be available on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL first, going onsale 19 October and 15 November respectively. We expect it to roll out to other phones that support Google Assistant later.

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