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Handy Google Lens tool makes searching for things online a breeze.
© Colin Temple |
Tech tips

Google’s brilliant tool for searching for things online

How do you search for a specific dress if you don’t know the designer? There might also be times when you can’t accurately put what you are looking for into words. That usually leaves you with two options: give up or resign to spending too much time searching numerous search results.

Thankfully, Google has a third option to make your searches faster and more effortless. With multisearch in Lens, you can look up text and images simultaneously.

Here’s how it works

Google Lens uses image recognition technology that lets you find things online from what you see through your phone’s camera. It’s designed to show you relevant information on objects it identifies. To use the function, you must open the free Google app and tap the camera icon next to the search bar.

NOTE: Sorry, Apple fans, Google Lens isn’t available to you yet.

You can also use the free Google Lens app.

Taking a quick picture of things such as a flower, an animal or a chair, Google brings up similar results. It’s a great way to identify unknown objects, but it works just as well with words.

Credit: Google

When you select text at the bottom, it scans the words and lets you search for them or copy them to a notepad. If the text isn’t in your native language, Google will translate it for you.

Searching with Google Lens

In the latest update to Google Lens, you can now use images and text questions to refine searches. The initial inquiry is the same (taking a quick photo of the object), but when you swipe up and tap on the + Add to your search button, you can add questions.

For example, you took a photo of a dress and ran it through Google Lens. Some results should pop up, but when you add the word green through the new function, the results will show you only green dresses in that style.

Google Search Lens
Credit: Google

But it doesn’t just work for fashion items. Google explains in a blog post that you could take a photo of a houseplant and add “care instructions” to your search. What should follow is the best way to look after the plant.

According to Google, with multisearch, you can ask questions about an object in front of you or refine your search by color, brand or visual attribute. Here are some practical uses:

  • Screenshot a stylish orange dress and add the query “green” to find it in another color.
  • Snap a photo of your dining set and add the query “coffee table” to find a matching table.
  • Take a picture of your rosemary plant and add the query “care instructions.”

The added functionality is still in the beta phase in the U.S., so it’s not fully operational yet. But Google says that you should get the best results when shopping.

Maybe it is no coincidence that searches for “Sunflower bathing suit” have skyrocketed recently. In a separate blog post about the fashion trends warming up for spring, florals and the color green seem to be the must-have items.

Are you looking for a floral handbag? You are not alone, as Google recently saw searches for this fashion trend increase by 140%. In addition, searches for “green glitter nails” rose by 130%, while “green Prada shoes” doubled in search volume.

Keep reading

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Search engine comparison: Google vs. Startpage vs. DuckDuckGo vs. Bing

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