Google Lens – I’m not yet convinced

Google Lens

GadgetGuy’s managing editor has been using Google Lens to identify animals and flowers. Impressive. But I am not yet convinced – especially when it comes to buildings.

Google Lens (information here) is the feature that first appeared in Google Pixel phones as part of the Google Photos app. You tap on it, and it analyses the photo and tells you about what’s in there. In theory.

When I reviewed the Google Pixel 2 XL last year, I found that Google Lens couldn’t identify most famous Canberra buildings and slightly misidentified one. It thought the old Parliament House was the new Parliament House.

Well, earlier this month I figured I ought to give it another chance.

What can Google Lens see?

Last year Google Lens could not identify a distinctive Canberra house. It said that its best guess was “Architecture” and showed some “visually similar web images”. Now?

Google Lens

Now it thinks that house is the National Portrait Gallery. Well, the Gallery is only a couple of kilometres away. So, let’s see if it can identify the real National Portrait Gallery:

Google Lens

“Hmm… not seeing this clearly yet.” Oh well. The Gallery is only a relatively new addition to the Parliamentary triangle. This year will be its tenth anniversary.

But close to the gallery is the National Library of Australia, and that has been there for fifty years. Let’s see what Google Lens makes of that.

Google Lens

“MOKE USA Corporate Office”? What the …

At this point, I’d like to note that the photos are GPS coded. If you click on the info button, you get a map with a handy red pinpointing precisely at the place where the photo was taken. As you can see, this one was taken from right next to the National Library of Australia. So it seems that Google Lens still doesn’t use that information as a clue.

Google Lens

Perhaps that was just a one-off. How about Old Parliament House.

Google Lens

Oh. Apparently, it’s located in Las Vegas. Yes, Australian politicians gamble all the time, but their currency is the lives and futures of Australians, not poker chips.

No doubt Google Lens will get better. But I wouldn’t rely on it too much just yet.