Imagine an application that, just by pointing the camera of the mobile to a garment, shows similar results to the sale on the Internet or that, by pointing to a text in another language, translate it instantly. Imagine that appAlso, when photographing a monument, show other visitors' ratings, schedules and historical data. And that the same tool serves to inform about any dish of food, the breed of a dog or the species of a certain plant. That application exists and is called Google Lens. EL PAÍS has seen how it works in parks, restaurants, supermarkets, clothing stores and historical monuments.
The purpose of this tool based on the machine learning is that any user can find additional information about what he sees in the real world. Android users can download the Google Lens app on the Play Store or use it through of the Google assistant or Google Photos. IPhone users can only access the tool through the last option.
At the moment, the application is capable of detecting at an amazing speed any text in a photograph, recognize the brand of any car and distinguish objects of all kinds: from a Tunisian tagine to a closed ping pong table. But it still fails sometimes. To what extent is Google Lens useful and in what situations can it be exploited?
Visit historical monuments
By pointing the camera at a monument, the application shows ratings of people who have visited it, opening hours or historical data. This is what happens when photographing the Convent of the Encarnación, in Ávila. In addition to identifying it, Google Lens shows 200 similar photographs and allows you to call it, search it on Google or open Google Maps to get there. This last option is especially useful in the case of a photograph that you have received and you are not taking the picture with your mobile on-site.
But the tool does not always succeed. Failure to take the photograph of the same convent from the side and, sometimes, does not distinguish a historic building to the first. In the late afternoon, does not recognize the City of Avila until the fifth attempt. He confuses it with a nearby restaurant or shows similar images on the web that only occasionally are the same Consistory.
Eat in a restaurant
Google Lens does not stop evolving. Soon it will be able to highlight the most popular dishes of a place by simply focusing on the mobile phone of a restaurant, calculating the tip when photographing the bill of a meal and dividing the total price among a certain number of diners, as announced by the company last week in your annual developer conference, Google I / O.
Currently, the tool is useful in restaurants from the first moment. When consulting a sushi menu, it displays images of similar menus, allowing the user to compare the prices of different establishments. In addition, it detects the text of the letter, so it can be used when there is no known food or if it is written in another language.
Once the food is served, just point to a plate of Russian salad, Google Lens informs what recipe it is, allows you to consult more information about it and shows images of similar dishes. Even when photographing fagotti of black truffle with boletus sauce of an Italian restaurant, find a photograph of the same dish cooked in the same restaurant that someone has uploaded to Tripadvisor and allows you to consult different opinions about it.
Find clothes and furniture
Google Lens can help a user discover where to buy furniture or clothes that he likes from a photo. The application shows similar options and allows you to choose the price range from which you want to consult results. For example, when you point to a chair, you can indicate if you are looking for similar options from 0 to 35 euros, from 35 to 60 or from 60 to 100.
The same applies to clothing and other products such as makeup or toys. When photographing a floral shirt, it shows clothes with similar prints. Sometimes it even shows the same blouse for sale on the web. For example, in the test that this newspaper has done, the tooling has recognized a men's shirt and a Pull & Bear dress. Although sometimes the results are not the most desired, since it has confused a long skirt of plaid woman with a kilt or has shown garments with a similar design but whose pattern differs.
Stroll through the park
If you have ever been curious about the breed of a dog you have seen on the street or would like to know what plants are in a garden, Google Lens has the answer. On a walk in the park, the tool hits a recognizable Belgian Malinois shepherd who wears an Elizabethan collar – plastic protection that prevents him from licking his body and infecting injured areas. And it points out the similarities of another dog with a beagle and an English pointer. Its owners confirm that it is a cross breed, although they do not specify what it is about.
The application also serves to recognize all types of plants. In a stretch of about 20 meters, distinguishes many different species. For example, Indicate that a tree with thin branches and pink flowers is an example of Cercis siliquastrum -commonly called the love tree- or Cercis canadensis and that some white flowers are of the species Viburnum lantana or Spiraea cantoniensis.
Make the purchase in the supermarket
By pointing the camera at some radishes, Google Lens indicates that they are of the species Raphanus sativus. Similarly, it recognizes potatoes, zucchini and strawberries and displays small descriptions of Wikipedia with information about these foods. "Cucumis sativusCucumber, popularly known as cucumber, is an annual plant of the Cucurbitaceae family, "he says after pointing his cell phone at a tray of cucumbers.
The application works in the same way in the fish market. Trachurus japonicus or Trachurus murphyi are some of the species detected by Google Lens in a supermarket of a shopping center. It recognizes without problem sardines and different crustaceans although it also fails in some occasions. It is not able to identify a golden one (Sparus aurata), confuses chorizos with Polish sausages and is lost when pointing to cut or piled fish. "Sorry, I do not know how to help you," he says, pointing to squid.
Google Lens also reads barcodes. By doing so, it displays information about each product and allows you to search it on Google. This option, which works with all kinds of products -from a shake to a hair conditioner-, can be especially useful to know if a food is healthy, in what other places it is sold and compare the price.
Consult information about books, music and works of art
Bathtime, After bath or Valencian fishermen by Joaquín Sorolla are just some of the paintings that Google Lens recognizes the first time. By pointing to a mural The final judgement, the app shows reviews and gives the option to consult information about Michelangelo or the Sistine Chapel. Google Lens also recognizes and shows the plot and similar works of books as The little Prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Black as the sea by Mary Higgins Clark or Feminism for beginners by Nuria Varela.
In the same way, identify videogames as Art Academy, Call of Duty: Black Ops or Super Mario Maker and music discs. When photographing the cover of the album La Población, by Víctor Jara, Google Lens shows information about it from Wikipedia and allows you to search it on Google or listen to it on YouTube and Spotify.
Go to the movies and refuel
In the cinema, Google Lens distinguishes figures of different characters like Pikachu and, when pointing to the poster of films like UglyDolls, Extraordinarily Ugly or La Llorona, It shows the trailer and a small explanation about it. The application also recognizes all types of establishments: from the McDonalds or the Pans & Company to a specific shopping center or a small cafeteria. And even gas stations. By pointing the camera at a gas station pump, Google Lens becomes confused. "It seems … a machine?" He says. By pointing it from another perspective, it shows similar images on Google. When it detects the text "gas station" with the Carrefour logo, it recognizes which gas station it is and shows a summary of reviews. "Only lack 98 gasoline" or "gas station with discounts from the supermarket" are the first opinions shown by the application.
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