Last month, our APK Insight of the Google app revealed that Google Lens was gaining the ability to import and visually search any image on your device. This evening, Google is beginning to roll out and test this feature.
Since I/O 2018 in May, when real-time search and smart text selection was added, Google Lens has been on a roll. Several first-party camera apps have added a quick shortcut to launch Lens, while the Pixel 3 features real-time Lens detection in the Google Camera app.
For some users this evening, opening Google Lens from Assistant or the dedicated app will yield a new icon either in top-left or top-right corner. Clicking will open your device’s default Downloads app of File Picker to import any image into Google Lens for analysis.
Once imported, Google Lens runs an identical scan, highlights the same areas of interest, and presents information as if you just snapped a live picture. While users could already analyze any image thanks to Lens integration in Google Photos, this is faster, a more familiar interface, and more convenient to access.
Meanwhile, Google Lens was recently updated so that it appears in the system Share menu as another way to import an image. Lens is also set to appear in Google Images as part of Google’s look towards the next 20 years of Search.
So far, we’ve spotted the import feature on both version 8.24 and the 8.28 beta of the Google app. The former shows the icon in the top-left, while the latter repositions the button to the right. The Google Lens import functionality is still in testing and not live on all devices we’ve checked.