search using an image, from your phone or computer.
SMARTPHONES, Tech stories

Why bother typing words when you can just search using an image?

At times I find it very difficult to get exact/accurate search results from Google, do you? Imagine you have this product in your hand, and you want to know more about it. How do you go about researching on Google, when you don’t even know its name? You must sometimes ask yourself, “what if there was a means (mobile app for instance), that allowed one to Google search using images?

Think it about it, imagine you have a red flower in your hands; you want to know a few things about it (say its type, biology, etc.), but you do not even know its name. You could enter your browser and type “red flowers,” but there are over 40 types of red flowers, which means you’ll have to browse through each of these types to find the one your holding in your hand. Well thanks to your resilience, you now know what kind of red flower you were holding. Wait, how much time did it take you again?

Google searching the old way.
Google searching the old way.

That’s how it used to happen until three years ago when Google decided to change the story-line. Today, all you have to do is take a picture of your red flower, put it into the image search app, and you’re given the exact type of flower and all the information you could be looking for. So why bother typing keywords into a search bar when you could just use an app and an image of your item; to get accurate results? The app’s called Google Lens.

Finding plants with google lens, lahsdigitalworld
Finding plants with google lens

Catching up

Since you’re three years late, I’m going to try to help you catch-up through this article. We’ll talk about search using an image, the Google Lens picture search app, how it works, why you should use it, how it could transform your studies, your research, and the world. Someone once said, “the people that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.” Do I really think that a picture search app can change the world? Keep reading! You might just find out.

How image search works

From a technical perspective, search using an image is a recent technology that allows users to search for related content or material just by uploading a picture. A mathematical model of the image you just submitted is developed after analysis, using advanced algorithms. This model is then compared with billions of other image models in Google’s databases before returning matching and similar results. When matches are available, Google then uses image-description (meta-data) to propose the best image results to you.

Was that too technical? Well, since you asked, I had to answer. Yes, I can read your mind. To simplify a little bit, search using an image simply means comparing the desired image to millions of others on the internet. When a match is found, we use the individual image description (meta-data) to sort the best results. That’s what the Google Lens app does. 

What you should know about Google Lens

Google Lens is a mobile app that lets you search what you see, get things done faster, and understand the world around you—using just your camera or a photo. With the Google lens app, you can;

Google lens, search using an image,
Google lens, search using an image
  • Find out what type of shoe or watch or friend is putting on or what kind of car is packed in your neighbor’s garage.
  • Translate words you see, save a business card to your contacts, add events to your calendar from a poster, and copy and paste complicated codes or long paragraphs into your phone to save time. I should’ve added this app to my article on must-have apps for students. 
  • Quickly scan QR codes and barcodes. You’re shopping for your baby, and then you come across these items in the shop that you’ve never seen before. Quickly scan QR code and barcode to learn all you can about it before you pay for it.

Your colleague’s outfit or room carpet just caught your eye? Just take a picture and find similar outfits or carpets to the one you just saw.

Google lens, search using an image
Google lens, search using an image

How to use Google Lens to search using an image

Now that you’re eager to start searching for the Rolex you saw on your barber’s arm, here’s how to get started with Google Lens. 

  • Download and install the app from here (for android users). iPhone user? Go to your app store.
  • Just open the app and do your thing. It is so user friendly that even your grandmother in “mbiligi” can use it. 
  • Make sure you have an average phone camera and good lighting to get more accurate results. 
  • You can also upload an image from your gallery. Tap on that tiny gallery button, you see. 

Why Choose Google Lens?

Besides the fact that the google lens app doesn’t really have any competitors on the app markets, Some undeniable reasons to choose this app include;

  • Accuracy: Results from a search using an image are almost as accurate as though you “typed-in” the keywords. Take a picture of your Acer laptop, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. 
  • Convenience: Take the app with you everywhere, anytime. All you need is an internet connection, and you’re good to go. The size also varies with the device. For my phone, it’s just 43MBs. 
  • Ease of use: I cannot reiterate this enough. You don’t need to configure anything whatsoever. Just open the app, upload your image, and that’s it. It’s just too easy. 
  • It is Free: If we know Google, for one thing, it is for giving us the best apps for free. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s just unbelievable. They give you mind-blowing technology at absolutely no cost. I wish I can work for them someday.

Other alternatives to the Google Lens app?

Even though I almost worship Google lens, there are so many other apps on the market that allow you to accurately and efficiently search using an image. 

  • Reverse Image Search (Multi-Engines) – From THINK FREE
  • Search By Image – From PALM TEAM
  • Reverse Image Search: search by image – From meaazi
  • Photo Sherlock – Reverse Image Search


Today you can search for content online, using an image instead of always typing the words into Google. The Google lens app lets you achieve this with utmost ease, convenience, accuracy, and at no cost. You can also translate text, identify restaurants, meals, shops, explore places, scan QR codes, and barcodes. 

Are there any other apps that you think are giving you better results? Feel to tell us what you think in the comment section found at the bottom of this page. Also, if you enjoyed this article, help us by sharing it with your friends on social media and follow this blog for more interesting articles. 

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