Google expands shopping searches with Lens and in-store inventory checks

Google lense

Shopping online isn’t always a convenience. If you enjoy window shopping or browsing curated collections at a brick-and-mortar store for inspiration, finding something online you don’t yet know you want or are unaware of is tricky if you start with a text search. Google is announcing new shopping search tools to try to alleviate this, with features that utilize Google Lens for finding products to buy from pictures online, broader search terms to help you browse clothing, and the ability to check in-store inventory from home. It claims the new tools will help shoppers “find what they’re looking for in a more visual way.” This comes after Google allowed all businesses to create listings on Google Shopping for free last year. Now, it wants more window shopping to be done right from Google search.

 Desktop Google Lens search on Chrome. GIF: Google

Desktop Google Lens search on Chrome.GIF: Google

Google Lens has been around since 2017, replacing Google Goggles that came before it, with the ability to use a smartphone camera to conduct visual searches based on the identification of objects found in the real world. Those image searches have allowed users to learn more about the things around them, even finding the same or similar item to buy without looking for a label or barcode to scan. Now, Google wants to make it possible to shop for any product you see in an image or video on the web with nothing more than the picture itself.

Soon, iOS users will have a new dedicated button in the Google app, allowing a Google Lens search of any image on a page to bring up Google Shopping listings for purchase through a visual match. The feature will also be coming to Chrome on the desktop.

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