Google Lens, the company’s visual search tool, was announced last year at I/O for Google’s Pixel devices and later rolled out for iOS and other Android devices, awkwardly through the photos app. You could take a photo and then run Lens against the photo rather than through the camera in real time.
In a related vein, Google Maps now has new Lens-like features. You can use the camera in navigation for improved walking directions and information about places. The same computer vision and machine learning technologies are behind these features in Lens and Maps, as well as a new app for the visually impaired called Lookout.
Together with Apple’s ARKit, what all this means is that augmented reality is poised to go mainstream, while virtual reality looks increasingly like a lucrative vertical or niche application.
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