This app turns your phone camera into an all-knowing exploration device

Google is a game-changer when it comes to our smartphones, and we didn’t need any draconian US trade rules to tell us that either.

The idea of heading anywhere unfamiliar without first checking the route on the likes of Google Maps, well is just unfamiliar in this day and age. My kids watch it avidly during a road trip and selecting our car avatar is part of the fun.

It’s your on-the-go assistant in the real world. But even more than just directions it lets you tap into “where the tastemakers are going” and if you’re that way inclined – even become one by contributing to Local Guides.

“The information across Google Search and Maps helps millions of people, every day, discover and share great places. Our goal is to help people get out and enjoy the world by building a map tailored to each user and their likes and preferences,” says the tech giant. 

And yet there is just so much more that the company is doing to slice and dice its digital solutions to everyday issues we face. (Shakes head for Huawei's amazing camera).

Which brings us to Google Lens.

This is one app that should be on every traveller’s radar – simply for the ease of info, empowerment and efficiency of what it brings to your mobile. Even on an Apple device, as I soon found out. Check out our insta-stories highlight to see how I put it to use in a scavenger hunt across Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Safe to say no more lazy App user here.

Whether it is learning about landmarks such as the Cape Wheel, the Lux Silo hotel, or identifying a particular type of product you'd like to use - since its launch in late 2018, Lens has basically changed what you can do with Google Assistant, Google Photos and Google Images.

Here’s how... 

  • It identifies things in an image you might want to learn more about and shows you similar ones. When you select the Lens button in Google Images, dots will appear on objects you can learn more about.
  • 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.
  • Lens in Google Images also helps website owners by giving them a new way to be discovered through a visual search, similar to a traditional Google Search.
  • To start, the dots will appear on products and other objects Lens has identified, and in the coming months the dots will appear in more types of images, such as landmarks, animals and plants. You can still draw around anything you’re interested in inside of an image to get more information and see related content.  

Google Lens makes exploring unknown spots easier

Google Lens makes exploring unknown spots easier

Google Lens makes exploring unknown spots easier

Google Lens makes exploring unknown spots easier
Google Lens makes exploring unknown spots easier

Google Lens makes exploring unknown spots easier

Find Your Escape by searching and comparing flight prices here. You can also sign-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe hereOr download the News24 App hereto receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.