Rediscover your city through a new Lens this summer

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With warmer weather upon us and many places reopening in the U.K., it’s the perfect time to go out and reconnect with your surroundings. Whether it’s soaking up that panoramic view of a city skyline that you’ve really missed, or wondering what that interesting tree species was that you pass every day on your park walk, many of us feel ready to reconnect with our cities in new ways.


British cities are especially ripe for rediscovery. As the country emerges from a long lockdown and people start to reintegrate with their cities this summer, we’re launching a campaign called Behind the Lens with Google Pixel, which aims to help people rediscover their cities using Google Lens on Pixel. We’ll do that through a series of events over the coming weeks, alongside some very special guests in London, Bristol and Liverpool.


Vibrant orange and purple flower shown on a Google Pixel 5 using Google Lens, which has identified the flower as a bird of paradise. The result shows information about the plant: “Strelitzia reginae, commonly called a crane flower or bird of paradise, is a genus of perennial plants, native to South Africa…”

Vibrant orange and purple flower shown on a Google Pixel 5 using Google Lens, which has identified the flower as a Bird of Paradise.

Behind the Lens with Google Pixel encourages people to search what they see using the magic of Lens, and rediscover some forgotten pockets of their city using its updated features. Identifying the species of that bird you keep seeing in the communal gardens of London has never been easier, while discovering new, secret ingredients at a farmer’s market in Liverpool can also be done in a snap. Or, perhaps you’ve always wanted to know more about that forgotten landmark from a viewpoint in Bristol. Lens can give you on-the-spot information about a subject with a single long tap on the Pixel camera viewfinder, which is handy since we often have our cameras open and ready to capture the moment. 


With restrictions being lifted in the U.K. this summer, Search trends reveal that there is an opportunity to rediscover our cities through the interests we have acquired over lockdown. From March 23, 2020 through April 21, 2021, Google searches incrementally increased for new skills and classes: Hiking trails near me (+200%), Online gardening courses (+300%) and Online cooking classes (+800%). 


This suggests not only that some of the hobbies the nation nurtured during lockdown are still very much of interest, but also now people can rediscover these within the backdrop of their city, alongside their communities and friends. 


Within Google Lens, the Places filter is selected and the view is showing a clock tower against a bright, cloudy sky. Lens identifies the clock tower as Big Ben and gives results, including a star rating, two alternative views of the tower and an option to search Google.

Within Google Lens, the Places filter is selected and the view is showing a clock tower against a bright, cloudy sky.

A new tool for rediscovery


Google Lens is now used over three billion times per month by people around the world, and with many ready to explore this summer and rediscover their cities, we’re officially launching the new Places filter in Lens. Now available globally, the Places filter makes it easy to identify buildings and landmarks using your phone camera, combining 3D models from Google Earth and Lens’ powerful image recognition technology to create an in-depth, real-time AR experience, similar to Live View on Google Maps.


The Google Lens app Places filter is open on a black Google Pixel 5, showing a view that scans the River Thames and settles on a large bridge with two towers. Upon identification of the structure as Tower Bridge, Lens results show the star rating, alternative images of Tower Bridge to scroll through, and the option to search Google for more information.

The Google Lens app Places filter is open on a Google Pixel 5, showing a view that scans the River Thames and settles on a large bridge with two towers.

Just open the Google app on your phone and tap the camera icon in the search bar to open Lens. Then, switch to the Places filter and point your camera at notable places around you.


We hope Lens makes rediscovering and learning about your city even more enjoyable.


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