Machine learning has been one of Google's main focuses for years now. To help other companies and app developers take advantage of the technology, Google today announced an API called 'ML Kit.' It allows apps to use machine learning for text recognition, face detection, scanning barcodes, and even detecting landmarks (similar to Google Lens).

The new API uses Firebase, and is available on both Android and iOS. The new documentation page explains ML Kit in detail:

We want the entire device experience to be smarter, not just the OS, so we’re bringing the power of Google’s machine learning to app developers with the launch of ML Kit, a new set of cross-platform APIs available through Firebase.

ML Kit offers developers on-device APIs for text recognition, face detection, image labeling and more. So mobile developers building apps like Lose It!, a nutrition tracker, can easily deploy our text recognition model to scan nutritional information and ML Kit’s custom model APIs to automatically classify over 200 different foods with your phone’s camera.

Many third-party apps already use their own solutions for scanning barcodes and reading text, which are often buggier or not as functional as Google's. Hopefully, ML Kit will provide a major functionality boost to these apps and services.