Your smartphone camera can do more than take photos

Identify unknown plants, scan documents and translate foreign language signs: With the intelligent camera software Google Lens, the smartphone lens turns into a practical all-purpose weapon for everyday life. We explain how to do it. 

The camera software  Google  Lens was introduced in 2017 and has since found its way onto more and more devices. On most newer Android smartphones, the most important functions are already integrated in the  camera app as delivered. The software also works on  iPhone s and can be downloaded from the App Store. We show what she can do. 

Identify sights or unknown plants

Are you seeing a plant for the first time and want to know what it is? Are you on vacation and wondering what impressive building you can see in front of you? Your smartphone knows!

Hold the viewfinder on the object and activate Google Lens in the camera app. We’ll explain how to do this below. The software now compares the motif with pictures from the Internet – and is usually also found. The search results should show the answer to your question. 

Translate foreign languages

The app also recognizes text in any language and can translate it for you. To do this, tap the translator symbol in the bottom left of Google Lens and point the camera at the sign or text you want to translate. Google Lens displays the translation above the original text. This works better for some languages ​​than for others.

Copy the printed text to your smartphone

Text excerpts or book pages can be copied to your smartphone or computer using Google Lens. Recently, the app has even been able to recognize handwritten notes and send them directly to the computer. To do this, the user must be logged into their Google account and use the latest version of the Chrome browser. In addition, there is now a “listen” function. This is especially useful if you want to hear the correct pronunciation in a foreign language. 

Shop faster or find restaurant reviews

Google Lens is linked to other Google products such as shopping search or Google Maps. For example, if you particularly like a pair of shoes, all you have to do is point the smartphone camera at them and Google Lens will take you directly to online retailers who sell them. If you want to know how well a restaurant was received by guests, just scan the lettering. 

How to activate Google Lens

You can find Google Lens in the camera app of your Android smartphone. Open the app and tap “More” at the bottom right to find the functions. IPhone owners must first download the iOS app. For users of an older Android device, there is the slimmed-down app variant “Google Go” in the Play Store. 

However, you should only use the function described here if you are within Germany or other EU countries and your mobile phone contract does not provide any additional roaming charges. Otherwise it can quickly become expensive. After all, Google Lens needs an internet connection.