Google Lens Can Now Read Your Handwriting

Thursday, May 14, 2020
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If your handwriting is neat and legible, you can now transfer notes to your computer in the blink of an eye. Tedious copy-typing will become a thing of the past thanks to the latest set of features added to Google Lens.

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What Is Google Lens?

Google Lens is a must-have application that does everything a pocket encyclopaedia never could.

By using your phone’s camera and deep machine learning, it can identify the objects that you point it at and give detailed explanations or pertinent recommendations based on your input. Google Lens is capable of translating anything from signs to labels, and it features all the language combinations available on Google Translate. The app also reads QR Codes.

For example, if you’re traveling to Japan without any prior knowledge of the language, Google Lens can help you understand where you’re going and what you’re looking at. The app translates street signs, metro maps, restaurant menus, while also simultaneously showing you relevant attractions nearby, customer reviews, and the most popular food items ordered.

If you’re interested in an item of clothing displayed on a mannequin in a shop window, but don’t have the time to go in, you can rely on Google Lens to help you find nearly identical products later on. You no longer have to worry about typing hit-or-miss descriptions in the search bar. Show the internet what you want and you can have it.

Additionally, Google Lens is a great source of information about plants and animals. This feature seems particularly useful to parents and educators, as it can ignite a passion for the natural world in children of all ages and the adults raising them. Are you looking for a specific plant, but don’t know what it’s called? Google Lens can tell you everything about it and show you where the nearest florist is too.

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How Do I Use Google Lens?

According to the Google blog, there are four ways to access Lens features. All methods offer a similar user experience, so you can choose whichever you prefer.

If you have an Android device, simply download Google Lens from the Play Store. Keep in mind that certain brands of smartphones are banned from Google Services. Just last year, the Government of the United States forbade several companies, including Google, from working with Chinese giant Huawei. You cannot access Google Lens on your Huawei Device if it was released after the May 16, 2019.

Can’t imagine life without the help of Google Assistant? Rest assured. The Lens icon in the right-hand corner lets you access the same interface as the application. Whether you’re on the go or you want to learn something new on a slow Sunday, just take a photo and get inspired.

Google Photos also shows you a Lens icon when you browse through your albums. It can identify artwork, monuments and buildings. For example, it is now simpler than ever to plan a return to a beloved museum: Lens will find operating hours for you while you look at old photos. You can also use Lens to better understand paintings or sculptures, as the app can give you extensive information about the work and the artist.

Some Android phones, such as the Pixel 4 or LG 7 ThinQ devices, have the Google Lens feature built into the camera app. As settings differ among models, certain interfaces only have Google Lens under ‘More’.

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Newest Features: Copy and Paste Handwritten Text, Practice Pronunciation

In a recent post on the Google Blog, Lens product manager Lou Wang explained some of the app’s latest updates. He announced that it is now possible to use Lens to transfer text from your handwritten notes onto your phone or computer to save time. This function’s success relies on the neatness of the user’s handwriting.

In order to use the new feature, all you have to do is take a picture of your notes, adjust to the text that you want to send to your computer, and then select the ‘Copy to Computer’ option that appears below. While this alone makes the lives of students and employees much easier, the surprises don’t stop here.

For example, it seems that the COVID-19 lockdown has motivated many of us to learn a new language: Google reports that searches connected to this topic have skyrocketed during the past few months. Lens can help learners understand specific words or phrases in foreign languages. While the translation function is not new, the ability to isolate passages or words is a most welcome addition.

You can also use Lens to practice your pronunciation. Just point your camera at the exercise book and select the passage that you are interested in. Lens can translate and read it out loud for you. With more than 100 languages at your fingertips, studying has never been easier.

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What’s the Next Step for Google Lens?

Google is now working on a Lens update that is designed to help students with their math homework. The app could potentially help the user solve a math problem once they take a picture of it. It remains unclear whether Lens will actually showcase the process through which it obtains the result or merely offer hints, but this feature will surely become a parent favourite, especially in the context of mass home schooling brought on by COVID-19.

Another aspect that Google is trying to perfect is offline access to translation. Being stranded in a foreign country with no language skills or internet connection could prove dangerous. Google Lens is trying to act as a life line in such situations. If language packs become available for download, our travel worries could be greatly diminished.

Tech blogs have been raving about Google Lens ever since it was launched back in 2017 and the app has made our lives a little easier one update at a time. Google’s image recognition technology is bound to keep surprizing us in the future. If it can do your children’s’ homework, who knows what’s next?

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