The start of every new year is often filled with predictions and forecasts on what the next big thing will be for digital – and while they are almost always extensions on previous years predictions, some of them are set to have bigger impacts than others.
Some of our favourite growth areas for this year are the likes of the smart trolley (marking the beginning of the end for checkout lanes), an increase in Voice Interface –requiring designers to extend their thinking when it comes to usability design, and the wider implementation of the 5G network, allowing users much higher upload and download speeds (cue fast and effective VR experiences that allow you to imagine and visualise your kitchen remodel while standing right there in your kitchen!)
But our favourite would have to be Google Lens.
What is Google Lens? Google Lens is a tool that allows you to use a photo stored on your phone to search the internet. Basically, take a photo of any product or item, open a Google Lens enabled app or the Google Image search engine, use the Google Lens tool and then it will scan your photo, search the internet and spit back results in real time.
Why is this exciting? Well, imagine you’re at a friends BBQ, you pick up a lovely new craft beer, you taste it, you love it, you want to know where to buy it. Just snap a picture, scan it with your app and ta da! There it is, complete with where to buy and how much it costs, along with a range of alternatives to try as well. Or perhaps you're travelling, you're staring at a landmark but you don’t know what it is? Take a snap, fire it through the app and there it is, complete with gift shop item recommendations.
Last October, Google extended access to Google Lens from only being accessible via their Pixel Phone, to now being accessible via its search engine’s image search functionality.
What impact will it have? While it’s not yet entirely clear what the impact will be, you can imagine it will be big in the ecommerce space, especially for FMCG, retail and fashion. It will also mean that your product images online will need to be as well optimized as they can be to make is as easy as possible for Google’s AI to read and interpret.
The lens is on your product, are you ready for it?