google lens
Image: Daniil Silantev/Unsplash

Google has recently announced that it’ll be bringing its mobile artificial intelligence (AI) tool Lens to Google Images, enabling mobile web users to identify and shop items from images they like. 

Previously Google Lens, which was released in 2017, had only been available via standalone Android app or the Google Pixel camera. Now, the image recognition technology has been added to Google Images Search for mobile web in the United States.

Google has pitched the AI-powered technology as a means to learn more about what you’re seeing in an image – whether it’s identifying a landmark, animal breed or an item of clothing, but it’s the application of this tech for identifying items to shop which will ultimately be a money-spinner for Google.

This is how Google explains the Lens technology for shopping: “Lens in Google Images can also make it easier to find and buy things you like online. For example, you might come to Google Images looking for ideas to redecorate your living room. During your search, you come across a couch you like in an image, but you may not know what style it is or where to buy it. All you need to do is press the Lens button, then either tap on a dot on the couch, or draw around it, and Google Images will show you related information and images. From there, you can learn more about it, or find places where you might be able to buy a similar couch.”google

The timing of this roll-out is likely to also be in response to Pinterest’s imminent stock market launch. The company which boasts an incredible 250 million monthly users has also beefed up its tech infrastructure in order to convert users into buyers as Techcrunch reported earlier this month: “The company says since it began testing the new features in the previous quarter, clicks on products to retail sites increased by 40 percent. That’s a big win for Pinterest, whose business model relies greatly on advertising revenue.”googlePinterest is not the only competition as Facebook, Instagram and Amazon are following closely behind for a bigger cut of click-to-shop advertising revenues. What this means for consumers is an unprecedented ease of shopping and price comparison of anything that grabs your attention.

Google Lens for Google Images will be introduced to non-US markets “soon”.

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