Google first demoed Lens, its smart Google Assistant-connected image recognition app, at its I/O developer conference earlier this year. At the time, it was one of the highlights of the show, but like so many other announcements at the time, the company wasn’t quite ready to release it to the public yet and only said that it would arrive “soon.” That was in May.
As Google announced during its hardware event today, the first preview of Lens will make it to the company’s Pixel phones — but only as a preview — later this year. It’ll come to other devices “in time.”
Lens brings together a wide swath of Google’s machine intelligence services. It combines the company’s image recognition smarts with the real-time translation of Google Translate and the Google Assistant. That means that you can snap a picture of a flower, for example, and Lens can tell you what flower you are looking at and then tell you more about it. Same with landmarks and even restaurants.
The feature that probably got the most applause at I/O was Lens’ ability to read a WiFi router’s SSID and password and automatically connect your phone to it.