The Google Lens visual search magic is now rolling out on iOS

Google Lens

If you've been itching to try out Google Lens on iOS, now's your chance, because the tool is rolling out as part of Google Photos for iOS as we speak. The software update follows on from its introduction in Google Photos for Android, which happened earlier this month.

For those of you not familiar with the tool, it's basically a clever visual search engine: point Lens at a celebrity, or a landmark, or a famous piece of artwork, or a QR code, and it'll give you the necessary information about it. Snap Ed Sheeran in the street, for example, and you get links to his YouTube and Facebook pages, and so on.

As part of Google Photos for Android and iOS, Google Lens can only work on photos you've taken. If you own a Pixel phone, you can get Lens to identify what you're looking at before the shutter button gets pressed (it's in Google Assistant).

Seeing is believing

Google has big plans for Lens, as it made clear at Google I/O last year. Over time the AI underpinning the app will get more sophisticated – maybe analyzing your meals and counting calories, or something similar.

Apparently, it's also going to be clever enough to remove objects from photos, Photoshop-style – though that feature and some of the others Google has mentioned haven't been launched yet. Eventually, any kind of AI task related to photos will fall under the Lens job description.

To get your hands on it now and give it a whirl, make sure you're running the latest version of Google Photos for Android or iOS, and open up a picture from your gallery. You should see the Lens button down on the toolbar at the bottom.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.