This story was originally published and last updated .
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.
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.
Last year, Moment revisited its Tele 60mm lens to redesign it with modern smartphones in mind. The outcome was a new Tele 58mm that delivers a sharper image and eliminates the vignetting that was so common with the wider lenses of most new smartphones. Moment is back at it again this year, but this time it's the Superfish lens going under the microscope. There's now a new Fisheye 14mm with similarly big improvements over the original, and we got to spend a little time to test out what the new glass can do.
Google Camera 7.2 is proving to be an extremely substantial update to the software. We've previously covered the new UI, the addition of astrophotography, and social sharing options. As it turns out, this version of Camera also integrates Google Lens more deeply into the viewfinder, which allows you to scan documents, translate foreign languages, and copy text. Related to these capabilities, Google Photos has added a filter specifically for astrophotography images.
Mere days after Google Fit crossed a major download milestone (and took its sweet time doing it), another more popular Google app has accomplished the same feat in less than half the time. Google Lens, the visual search engine that lets users summon information about the world around them by taking photos or screenshots, has officially joined the 50-million downloads club.
In one form or another, Google Lens has been a useful companion to Android users for quite some time. Just as Google is trying to integrate Assistant with each and every service it offers, the company is also looking to expand the reach of Lens. On Tuesday, Chrome Story noticed evidence pointing to Lens integration in Chrome for Android that we can expect to see in a future version of the browser.
Earlier this month, Google announced new "filters" would make their way to Google Lens, such as the ability to point your phone at a restaurant menu and get recommendations on the most popular dishes. These new features are starting to roll out to some users, together with a design revamp.
If you were hoping that Google Lens's latest update would bring all the new features that were promised at I/O, you will need to hold your breath a little longer. It's true that a new version of the app began rolling out yesterday, but it brings nothing of substance beside a new icon. And we've been getting enough tips about it that we just had to write this up.
Google Lens was a big unveiling at I/O a while back, but the feature isn't particularly discoverable on phones. It's become a bit more prominent with camera integrates on phones from Motorola, Google, and others. Now, you can add Xiaomi to the list.