How to use AI search in Google Lens
Multimedia search is nothing new to Google Lens. The company introduced it back in 2022: Since then, you’ve been able to search for images and text using Lens, for example, searching for a photo of a specific car, then adding “red” to select the type of color you want to display. Find it at.
Google is now pushing an update to Lens that uses the company’s new AI tools to make the experience richer. Google is using the following thought experiment to illustrate Lens’ new capabilities: Let’s say you’re browsing a yard sale, looking for an interesting board game with no box or instructions to learn about. Instead of aimlessly searching around for what you can see, Google suggests taking a photo of the game, then asking Lens questions like “What is this game and how is it played?” Similar to how visual search works using something like ChatGPT, Lens will then search the web based on your image for information relevant to the game.
I imagine there are a lot of potential use cases for this tool. You can take a photo of a dish in a restaurant and ask Lens to tell you how to prepare it; You can take a photo of a building in the city you’re visiting and ask Lens about its history and importance; You can also take a photo of the trading card and ask where it came from, and if it is rare or valuable. This type of gadget can be used for teaching, feeding, or general shopping – assuming, of course, that it works as advertised.
How to experience the new AI capabilities in Google Lens
This new Lens feature is rolling out now: Google rolled it out on Wednesday, January 17. If you know how to use Lens, you’re already on your way. Launch the Google app on Android or iOS, then tap the Lens icon in the search bar. You can either use the Find/Capture button to take a photo in the Lens itself, or use the button on the left to upload a photo from your phone instead. Either way, once Lens has analyzed your photo, you can click Add to Search and include your expanded questions.
I just tried it on an orchid next to my desk. I took a picture of it in Lens, then asked “Is this toxic to dogs?” Google thought for a minute, then returned the answer using generative AI. (Long story short: No, orchids are not toxic to dogs or cats.) But it’s great that you don’t even need to specify what’s in the picture when asking about it. I don’t need to ask “Is this… Orchid flower I can just say, “Is this toxic,” as if I were asking someone in the room with me. that’s awesome. (Now, I hope the answer is useful, correct, and related to the topic, but that’s another problem.)