How to Use Google Lens

March 28, 2023 • April Miller


Image recognition technology is becoming increasingly advanced. Researchers are developing new software solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to power computers and cameras, which can identify specific items within images to help users. Google developed its own image recognition technology, too. Continue reading to learn how to use Google Lens.

What is Google Lens?

Google announced its AI-powered technology at the 2017 Google I/O and started as an exclusive feature on the Google Pixel. The lens technology began as a standalone app but was eventually integrated into Android’s basic camera app.

Powerful Google Lens-enabled cameras analyze images using a set of vision-based computing capabilities to identify aspects of the image your smartphone camera captures. It can call out people, plants, animals, products in a store, menus at restaurants and plenty more. 

You can use the Google Lens app on the iOS App Store or download it from the Google Play Store. You can also use Lens by downloading the apps listed below:

  • Google
  • Google Camera
  • Google Photos
  • Google Search widget

Since its inception, the Google Lens app has garnered popularity among Android and iPhone users. The Google Lens app receives 4.6 stars based on over 1.7 million reviews on the Google Play Store.

How Google Lens Works

The app works by using a photo, your smartphone camera or pretty much any image. Once you upload your photo or open your camera, the tech will discover visually similar images and provide other relevant content. The app scans and gathers related information from the internet to give you the best results.

Lens will compare your image — or what you capture with your camera — to other images. It then ranks those images to your image in terms of similarity or the relevant objects in your photo. Lens uses additional information to find similar images, such as words, language and metadata.

Google’s official Lens site gives a helpful example of how Lens works. Suppose Lens is looking at a dog and identifies it as 95% German shepherd and 5% corgi. Since Lens gave the photo a 95% rank for a German shepherd, it will likely label the dog as that dog breed.

6 Features to Try Out

Google Lens is a powerful tool to use for different purposes. Here are some top features worth testing:

  • Search What You See: Scan clothes, decor, home furnishings and more to find similar items online.
  • Copy/Translate Text: Translate text from one language to another in real time, with over 100 languages available. You can also copy text, serial numbers and more to paste directly on your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Solve Problems: Capture your homework assignments to access explainers, videos and other online resources to help you.
  • Explore Places: Point your camera at locations such as restaurants, stores, gas stations and more to learn about them.
  • Identify Surroundings: Take images of plants or animals to learn more about them.
  • Scan Codes: Quickly scan QR codes and barcodes to redirect to relevant content.

As you can see, there are many reasons to use Google Lens on your Android and your iPhone or iPad.

How to Use Google Lens

There are two ways to use the app: uploading screenshots or taking photos. Here is more information on how to use screenshots and Lens when capturing an image.

Using Screenshots

Expand the bottom portion of your screen to see the images in your stored photos. You can tap on an image to upload it to Lens — it will immediately scan the photo and work its magic. 

After uploading the screenshot or image, a few search options will appear at the bottom of your screen. Choose which search option you’d like to use — for example, you might choose to scan a QR code from a screenshot or solve a math problem from a homework assignment.

Taking a Photo

If you want to learn more about a person, place or thing in your environment, you’ll need to use your smartphone camera through Lens. Open the Lens app, point the camera at your desired object and click the shutter button. 

Google Lens will identify one or more objects in a photo and mark them with a white dot. You can tap one of these dots to show relevant search results. Swipe up to see an expanded list of results.

Use Advanced Image Recognition Technology With Google Lens

Google is known as the top search engine, but did you know Google Lens takes your searching to another level? 

Rather than typing your inquiries into Google, download the Google Lens app and refer to the instructions above to get started. Happy searching!