Google Lens, which adds some smarts to your Android phone's camera and photo roll, is one of the best features in the new Pixel 2. And it looks like Google's about to extend the object recognition capability beyond its latest flagship phones.
Unveiled at this year's Google I/O developers conference and first added to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google Lens uses the phone's camera to identify objects and places, while bringing up contextual actions like customer reviews, Wikipedia entries, and Maps results. The feature also works in Google's Photos app.
Those users say that Google has began rolling out Lens to existing Pixel and Pixel XL devices running the most recent release of Google Photos. The feature presents itself upon opening the app, and functions as an opt-in preview. The splash screen for Google Lens says it can be used to copy text from documents, learn about landmarks, and look up products.
If you're lucky enough to get the invite, users say tapping the "Get Started" button at the bottom right replaces the info button seen while viewing photos with a Google Lens button. The info button then moves into the overflow menu at the top right. Sadly, our Pixel XL hasn't received the preview yet, so we're unable to test Lens on the device for ourselves.
Otherwise, this implementation of Lens reportedly functions more or less like it does on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, with the exception that it apparently work with the Camera app as it does on the newer phones. Using Google Lens while taken photos will come in a later update.
If you are waiting for the update, it's worth making sure you've downloaded the latest release of Google Photos, version 3.7.171902479. To do this, long press on the Google Photos icon from the Pixel launcher or app drawer and tap "App Info." Alternatively, you can access this screen from the App Info section of Settings.
Eventually, Google Lens is expected to make its way to all upcoming Android devices. But for now, it remains a Pixel exclusive.