Google has released a standalone version of its image and text recognition app, Google Lens.
The arrival of the app on Google Play enables Android phone users to quickly access Lens functionality on handsets where it is either buried within menus, or not available at all.
Using the phone’s camera as a visual search bar, Android users can identify animals and plants, or learn about popular landmarks just by pointing at an object and tapping on the screen.
The Lens app, which is effectively just a shortcut to the viewfinder, also scans text. This enables users to quickly add events to their calendar, add business cards to the contacts, translate words, call a number or get directions via Maps.
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It also boasts a handy shopping feature that can assist users find clothes, pieces of furniture or home decor items similar to what they feed the app. So, if you see a lamp you love, Google Lens uses AI to find similar products available online.
However, the app doesn’t appear to be fully functioning on all Android phones. Android Police says it is is working on all handsets running Android Marshmallow and up, but our Nexus 6P running Oreo is having trouble with some of the features.
It’s fine at recognising objects, landmarks and logos, scanning text and business cards, but less useful when attempting to discover shopping hints or results based on objects.
If you’re struggling with the standalone app, it’s also possible to access Google Lens by tapping on a previously-taken snap within the Google Photos app. From there you can tap the Lens icon for more information.
A small selection of Android phones, like the Pixel series, offer built-in access within the camera app.
Is the Lens app working for you? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.