At Google's I/O developer conference earlier this May, it showed off a new Google Lens feature that allows users to point their camera at a restaurant menu and see reviews for dishes pop up. The company now confirms that feature is launching by the end of this week, which means everyone can have an easier time picking dishes from the menu by early June.
Google Lens Will Help You Pick From The Menu
The feature is available through Google Lens, which can be downloaded as a standalone app but is also built into the camera on Google Pixel devices. Non-Pixel users can access it via Google Photos, too. It supports menus in English only for now, however, but more languages will be supported in the future.
Not every menu will be supported, as The Verge notes. In order to surface user reviews, individual meal reviews are needed to start. But it's easy to imagine this expanding quickly once a lot of people start using it. Google will also let users add information and photos about specific dishes instead of just reviewing the restaurant as a whole.
In addition to this, Google is also launching a new Popular Dishes sub-menu within a restaurant's page in the Google Maps app. This uses machine learning to highlight the popular dishes at a restaurant if viewed from within Google Maps.
Tapping on a place will show its most popular meals in the overview section — there'll be a menu tab that displays the most discussed options in that joint. This should make it easier for people to settle on what they're going to eat instead of blindly experimenting with choices. Sometimes, a little experimentation is good. Often, though, choosing out of spontaneity can lead people to duds, which is never a good thing. It might even convince that person not to return to that place.
That Google Maps feature is now available on Android. iOS folks will have to wait a bit longer, though — Google says it's deploying to Apple devices "in the coming months." In any case, it should make eating out more pleasant and less risky, especially when heading into unfamiliar restaurants.
Thoughts about these new menu-centric features? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!