Since its debut at 2017's Google I/O conference, Google Lens has been impressing users with its ability to parse actionable and useful information from existing photos on the company's own Pixel phones. It rolled out in October within the Photos app, and then expanded to Google Assistant in November.
At the same time, Google has been touting its augmented reality platform, ARCore, as a simplified and more accessible version of Tango, requiring less specialized hardware.
Now, Google is making big changes to both ARCore and Google Lens, bringing the former out of preview with ARCore 1.0. The final SDK means that developers can publish AR apps directly to the Play Store, and they can currently run on 13 phones, including:
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8+
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
- LG V30 (Android Oreo-only)
- LG V30+ (Android Oreo-only)
- OnePlus 5
- ASUS ZenFone AR
Later this year, phones from almost every manufacturer, including Huawei, Motorola, and others, will support ARCore apps. Google is also updating its developer tools to make building AR apps much easier, but at launch companies like Snapchat, Porsche, OTTO, and others, will have ARCore experiences.
To date, ARCore's most impressive features can be seen in the Pixel Camera's AR Stickers section, which was recently updated with a set for the Winter Olympics.
Google Lens is also receiving a big update at MWC this week, expanding to Google Photos for all English-language users, while also coming to Google Assistant for "compatible flagship devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony, and HMD/Nokia." While the specific list of devices isn't clear, it stands to reason that if the phone runs a Snapdragon 835, it should be compatible with Google Lens.
Lens is getting some new features, too, including "support for recognizing common animals and plants, like different dog breeds and flowers."