Google Lens is one of the more incredible examples of machine learning in action. It's one thing to take a picture, but it's entirely another when you can use it as a means of learning more about the world around you. If you haven't used it, you'll just have to trust us - or read some of our previous coverage - when we say that it's highly nifty. And Google plans on making it even more useful in the future, with improvements for shopping, nature, new AR experiences, and a new OCR (optical character recognition) model.
In a recent conversation on Twitter, our own Artem was able to get a quick statement about future plans for Google Lens from the engineering lead for the project.
Shopping (apparel, home goods, etc) in the works. Natural world (flora and fauna) improvements coming. Team just sent me an amazing new OCR model. Experimental AR experiences coming as well...
— Rajan Patel (@rajanpatel) December 9, 2017
The most curious of these planned changes is the "Experimental AR experiences." It could just be something as pedestrian as the company's recent AR Stickers, but I doubt anything like that would warrant the adjective "experimental."
The shopping and natural world improvements likely amount to an increase in the number and types of objects and scenes that Google Lens can recognize. Shopping is one of those activities that it could really be useful for, too. Imagine comparison shopping at your local retailers, all in real-time. It would even make price matching and review checking a breeze. Like all these changes, we'll have to see precisely what Google has in store, but the potential is there.
Improvements like OCR (optical character recognition) changes are a bit more incremental. Even if the changes they represent are amazing on a technical level, for consumers the difference is likely to be less interesting. Google Lens already has the ability to recognize text, all they'll notice is that it does a better job.
There aren't a lot of details or any schedule associated with the statement, and I'm sure the company's plans are subject to change. But, it seems like the informational well that is Google Lens has barely been tapped. We'll just have to wait and see how these new improvements and features perform.