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10 things you didn’t know you could do with Google Lens

With so much competition in Big Tech, developers have to keep rolling out new features and updates. Apple and Google are constantly vying for your interest in the immense mobile market. One way to get your attention is with big annual events showcasing what’s to come.

Google recently staged its annual I/O (input/output) developer conference with news on Android 12, 3D calls, privacy and new Map features. Tap or click here for the roundup.

The conference also showed how Google Lens can now help you with shopping. A lot is going on with this image recognition tech that you may not be aware of. To put it simply, point your phone at something (an object, image, text, etc.) to learn more about it. This can include prices, translations, identification, details and more. Check out our list of things to do with Lens.

1. Translate

Want to know what those signs say when you’re traveling abroad? How about impressing your date by decoding a menu written in a foreign language? Google Lens can translate text in real-time using augmented reality. It’s a neat and useful effect that comes in handy in countless situations.

2. Search photos

Whether it’s a photo you took yourself or one sent to you, Google Lens can identify items within the image and give you details and options to search for more. For example, you can snap a photo of a billboard for an upcoming concert and add the event to your calendar. If you snapped a pic of a book cover written in a foreign language, Lens can translate the text and tell you more about the book.

3. Scan barcodes

You can scan barcodes without carrying around a bulky scanner. A barcode by itself provides plenty of information about a product, and Lens can bring this to you. Just point the Lens camera at the jumble of numbers and lines, and you’ll get the product name and links on where to find it.

4. Search around you

What breed of dog is that? What do you call those lovely flowers? Lens lets you search the world around you. Simply point your camera at an object and tap it to get more information. You can also tap Speak and ask a question like, “How big is this?” or “Where does this come from?”

5. Learn more/get recipes for menu items

Even a menu written in your native language can post some questions. What exactly goes into a dish, for example. Use Lens to scan a menu item and get its description. You can also see what’s popular on the menu and get recipes to try your own hand at cooking the dishes at home.

6. Read text aloud

Thanks to Google’s Text-to-Speech tech, Lens can read text aloud, which is useful for visually impaired people. And anyone can make use of the feature to help with pronunciation for native or foreign languages. Open the Lens app, select Text and point the camera at the text you want to hear out loud and tap Listen.

7. Help price shop

An advertised deal may not always be the best one out there. Lens can help you with this. The Shopping tab lets you get more information when you snap a pic of an item or its tag. You’ll get a list of prices from other sources and can shop at your leisure.

The new Amazon Echo models are here. Tap or click here to check them out or get a good deal on previous models.

8. Learn about works of art

You don’t need a guide to tell you about a piece of art if you have Lens. Point your camera at a painting, sculpture or any artistic display and get more information about the work, creator and history, as well as more examples of this type.

9. Search for text

Lens lets you search for text in pictures and screenshots. This is handy for receipts, Wi-Fi passwords, business cards and more. Open Photos, type the text you are looking for and select the image you want. You can also copy and paste the text from a photo by tapping the Lens icon, highlighting the text and tapping Copy.

10. Look for reviews

Checking reviews is a good idea when browsing shops and restaurants. Lens lets you do this on the fly. For example, you may come across two Italian restaurants on the same street. Use the Places tab to scan each one for more information as well as available Google reviews.

Watch out for this tricky tactic some restaurants are using to fool their delivery customers.

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