Many years ago a friend of mine mentioned how nice it would be if you saw a stranger on the street wearing a clothing item you fancy, and right there on the spot you could take a picture and your phone would recognise and advise where and for what price you could purchase it. Maybe it’s the futuristic billion-dollar app idea right here, but sailing into 2018 with the two hot buzzwords like machine learning and artificial intelligence, this idea could soon become a reality. Google, continuously discovering visual search engine, might be able to do just that with its new technology called Google Lens

Sydney SEO Google Lens discovering visual search engine Logo

 

Google’s new creation is a visual search tool that is a set of vision-based computing capabilities that understand what you’re currently looking at through your phone’s camera eye, and will help you to take actions. The Lens isn’t actually an app, but is built directly into Google Photos and Google Assistant.

Google Lens reminds the Google Goggles, to simply take a picture with your phone’s camera and if it recognises the item, it will return the relevant search result. We can say that Google Lens is super enhanced Google Goggles. Additionally to increased speed, Google Lens not only identifies what it is looking at, but understands it and connects it to the other relevant things that Google knows the user will want to see.

At the moment, Google Lens is just in its baby shoes and has a long way to go until it can live up to its full potential. It won’t be able to identify everything you will lay your camera’s eye on, therefore Google advises to start with simple things to avoid any pitfalls. As it identifies text, it is a very convenient way of saving information from business cards you may get at important business meetings to ensure they will not get lost in your wallet between other business cards and receipts from your last grocery shopping. Or if you notice an URL walking by a poster or a flier with the information that grabs your attention and you want to save it, you can take a picture with Google Lens and it can get you a ticket and even create calendar events for an event poster.

Starting simple does not mean starting small. If you want to call a number written down on the paper, or you have directions to a written address and you want to open it in Google Maps, once again you can use Google Lens and it will do the work for you. Lens can also identify what buildings or locations are featured in a picture.

 

Google Lens discovering visual search engine Meatball

Additionally to the previously mentioned capabilities, it can identify notable landmarks, pull up information relating to them and relevant websites, additional media for art, books and movies, It can do all of this just by pointing the camera at film posters, book covers and museum installations. Lens can also work as a barcode and QR code scanner.

Google Lens will keep on improving as it will learn more about the surroundings and will become more adapt to human and object attributes to identify them. It can be a great thing when you walk past the coffee shop that seems interesting enough to grab your attention, and then simply let your smartphone do the job. You take a picture of the business’s storefront and Google Lens will pull up the the name, rating, reviews, store hours and any other relevant business information that appeared on the photo. Or on a day out in nature you find either a flower, an insect or maybe even a mushroom and you take a shot with Google Lens and it will identify the type of the flower for instance. It can identify anything from a unknown plant to a breed of a dog.

Google Lens discovering visual search engine Flower

Or imagine you are in a restaurant and waiter brings you a menu in a foreign language and you really do not understand a word in it? You can use Google Lens to translate the menu into your language and still be able to get the delicious meal your went there for.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Google Lens technology turns the camera that has only been a passive tool for capturing the world’s surroundings into a interactive experience that helps to receive the context related to the images you are capturing. Searching for information hasn’t always been easy. Lens simplifies this process via  three simple steps: point, shoot and search. It’s a game changer as Google Lens and other similar technologies like Pinterest Lens are using the visual side of search engines to find the relevant information, or even answers to the questions you did not know to ask.

An important question to answers for brands seeking for online marketing opportunities, is how to optimise this revolutionary technology created by Google.

  • Businesses have to make sure that the information on their products or services are clear as best as they can. Having a strong and distinct logo on their products, signage or even non-products will become essential. For example restaurants and cafes should ensure they have visible outside branding.

 

  • Alt tags, an HTML attributes applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines, are crucial as search engines search keywords within your image file names. Therefore the richer are your keywords (alt tags for pictures, text surrounding photos, anchor text in image links), the better are your chances to be found on search engines. An indispensable tool for finding the right keywords to optimise for is the Google Webmaster Tools
  • EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data will have to be used more efficiently. Every time you take a picture on your phone, a file (typically JPEG) is written to your device’s storage with the supplemental metadata like date, time, geolocation etc. Optimising EXIF data will allow Google to pull more relevant search results once the picture has been taken through the Google Lens.

 

  • Google Lens can create a new traffic for non-product-based searches. Therefore for the Lens to bring possible traffic to your webpage, reviewing alt tags and optimising images are really very important.

 

Google Lens can help businesses to market their products and services through introducing a futher visual side of search. But it is also a great handyman to increase your everyday productivity. Google Lens can take a picture with your phone’s camera of a WiFi router’s password label and network name, and Google Assistant will connect your phone to the WiFi. Gone are the days where you had to type in long passwords in tiny letters. Or even better!  With our smartphones in our hand, pocket or on the table while we work, we rarely if ever have to do the things the old-fashioned way.

 

Sydney SEO Google Lens discovering visual search engine WiFi Connection

 

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