Google Lens has long been a handy tool for things like figuring out what food you want to order or finding out if that plant taking over your backyard is actually a weed. It even added the ability to copy text to a computer earlier this year. Now it's gaining some helpful new capabilities when it comes to homework assistance, just in time for the upcoming school year.
The past few months have seen plenty of Gboard changes come to the keyboard via server-side updates. Dark mode, smart compose, clipboard suggestions, all of these are still rolling out to users (I don't have any of them yet), but more features and enhancements are on the way. Two more appear to be widely available now, be it on the beta or stable version of Gboard: image support in the clipboard, and Google Lens in lieu of Search.
With Google’s backing, KaiOS has been able to deliver a host of smartphone-like apps and services to its feature phone users who aren’t just ready to make the jump yet. The devices running KaiOS have so far picked up support for popular apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Maps, and even Assistant, although as stripped-down versions. Google is now enhancing the Assistant’s capabilities on the OS by integrating Lens’ camera translate mode, which works with a handful of Indian languages from the get-go.
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QR codes have almost infinite uses. Be it simply sharing a URL, a Wi-Fi password, acting as a web authenticator, or helping your pay for goods and services, these little black-and-white jumble squares have evolved into a truly ubiquitous part of our lives. But when you're not using an app or phone feature that specifically knows you want to scan a QR code, you may find yourself a bit puzzled, and that's led many people to just rush to the Play Store and download one of a million ad-filled scanner apps. The fact is, there are far better ways to scan QR codes on Android that don't involve installing a sketchy app, using everything from Google Lens, to your smartphone's own camera app, to a lightweight website that does the job without trackers and ads.
An upcoming version of Google Shopping shows evidence of some new features that will enhance your online shopping. A teardown of version 52 of the app revealed assets relating to AR item previews (similar to those in the Amazon and Ikea apps), dark mode, and a Google Lens shortcut built into the search bar.
Google Lens is an incredibly powerful tool already — just point your camera at an object of interest around you and it'll offer you search results depending on what it recognizes. It also makes text it sees machine-readable, letting you call phone numbers and solve simple math problems. Google is apparently looking to expand the latter capability, as APK teardowns conducted by XDA Developers and 9to5Google have found. You might soon be able to point your phone at math problems and get some help to solve for x.
OnePlus Gallery has received a small update that adds Google Lens integration. The app, which comes built in on all OnePlus devices, can now easily call up Lens to visually search an image and find elements and text in it.
At launch, Google Lens was of very limited utility, but it's getting better. Today, Google has announced a raft of new text-oriented features in Lens, most of which are available to everyone today. In just a few taps, you can get text from Lens to your computer. If you don't know how to pronounce something, Lens can help with that, too.
Back at Google I/O 2019, the company announced a few new features for Lens to help you when you're dining out. One of them is the ability to point your camera at a physical menu and get dish recommendations and reviews powered by Google Maps. While this particular feature doesn't seem to be live (at least for me in Lebanon), a similar one is showing up in Google Maps. The app now lets you scan uploaded images of menus and get all the info you need about each dish.