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Google unveils 'smart' lens at I/O developer conference

Is that a flower? Google Lens can tell users exactly what their smartphone camera is pointed at.

Mike Bambach

Google Lens can tell you what's in an image and then carry out an action such as connecting to wifi. Photo courtesy of Google
May 18 (UPI) -- Google added a new feature to point-and-shoot smartphone cameras, introducing the point-and-tell Google Lens on Wednesday.
Google tweeted a demonstration showing how Google Lens will enable smartphones to "understand what you see to help you take action."
The app uses image recognition to identify objects appearing in the camera lens in real-time. For example, users can point a smartphone at a flower and be told exactly what it is.
In a Google Home demonstration, the company showed how Lens would be integrated into Google Assistant. Google's Scott Huffman pointed his camera at a concert marquee for a Stone Foxes show and Google Assistant pulled up info on ticket sales.
"Add this to my calendar," he said -- and it did.
Lens was one of the advancements in artificial intelligence Google showed off on the first day of its I/O developer conference. Other highlights:
-- Google Jobs will organize job listings more efficiently. For example, search for a specific job in a specific city and those listings show at the top of search results. "The challenge of connecting job seekers to better information on job availability is like many search challenges we've solved in the past," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
-- Google said it is cutting the cord on virtual reality headsets with Daydream, which will not require connection to a computer or smartphone. The standalone headset will be available later this year in partnership with HTC -- maker of the Steam-compatible Vive headset -- and PC maker Lenovo.
-- Google Assistant will be available as a standalone app on iPhones, giving owners of Apple's smartphone three choices for a digital voice assistant, including the native Siri and Amazon's Alexa, available through the main Amazon app.
-- Google Photos can help users create a photo album with a new service that can choose the best photos from a phone's gallery and arrange them in a book users can order.

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