At I/O 2019, Google Lens gained the ability to analyze a physical restaurant menu and flag popular dishes. This Lens menu capability is now integrated right into Google Maps.
Despite digital versions, it’s still quite common for people to take pictures of menus and upload to a restaurant’s Google Maps listing. When viewing such images on Android, there is now a suggestion chip to “Explore dishes” at the bottom. The Lens icon also appears in the top-right corner to initiate a visual search.
Lens will highlight popular dishes in orange with an accompanying star icon. This virtual overlay helps preserve descriptions and pricing. The bottom sheet includes a carousel of “popular dishes found in image.”
A tap brings up photos and reviews of the item from Google Maps to provide additional context by matching text to a huge corpus of crowdsourced data. Behind-the-scenes, the picture in Maps is just being sent to Google Lens with the business location already known.
This integration makes sense in how you’re likely to already have the business listing in Google Maps open when visiting a new place. It saves you from having to launch Google Lens and manually take a picture. Meanwhile, this helps highlight what Lens can do by advertising it in Maps.
Lens integration for menus in Google Maps is rolled out on Android this evening. It’s not available on iOS.
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