Google announced an update to Google Images that may have a significant impact to publishers who sell online. The Google Lens feature is rolling out to Google Images on mobile devices. This feature is live right now in the United States and rolling out to other countries and languages soon.
This update was previously announced as coming back in September and it is finally live right now, today. Keep reading because this represents an opportunity for more traffic and sales.
What is Google Lens
Google Lens is a function similar to their Google Lens App that is available for Google Assistant and for Apple/Android devices. It allows a user to select parts of an image that interest them and receive additional information about that item.
According to Google:
“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.”
Google said that Lens will give website owners an additional way to obtain web traffic. One would assume that Schema meta data would play a role in helping identify what’s in the images. But I doubt that structured data is a major component of this. Nevertheless, adding structured data, in my opinion is always a good idea.
This is closer to AI and Machine Learning that is powering it. An idea of how this technology works can be gleaned from Google’s Vision web page where it describes a Google product with similar image technology:
“It quickly classifies images into thousands of categories (such as, “sailboat”), detects individual objects and faces within images, and reads printed words contained within images.
Insight from your images
Easily detect broad sets of objects in your images, from flowers, animals, or transportation to thousands of other object categories commonly found within images.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enables you to detect text within your images, along with automatic language identification.”